PAGA Paraphrased – Piplack v. In-N-Out Burgers, 88 Cal.App.5 th 1281 (2023)

By: Phillip J. Ebsworth and Justin T. Curley

Seyfarth Summary: The 4th Appellate District supplies additional assistance that complainants do not lose representative standing as soon as their private PAGA claims are forced to arbitration. In doing so, it turned down the argument that the language of PAGA needs a complainant to be able to preserve both private and representative PAGA claims in the very same online forum.

The 4th Appellate District held, like the Fifth District in Galarsa, that a PAGA complainant forced to private arbitration still keeps standing to pursue a PAGA representative action in state court. The 4th District, nevertheless, dealt with the “and” language in the PAGA statute and PAGA’s legal history identifying PAGA standing from “public” standing.

The company’s argument was that PAGA just licenses an aggrieved staff member to submit an action “on behalf of himself or herself and other present or previous workers.” As an outcome, the company argued a complainant who can not preserve a specific PAGA claim in court likewise can not preserve a representative PAGA action in court. The Court dismissed this argument indicating Kim v. Reins where the California Supreme Court held that due to the fact that the private Labor Code claims (which had actually been sent out to arbitration) and the PAGA action (which stayed in court) became part of the “very same suit” standing was not lost just due to the fact that the claims are being pursued in various online forum. As an outcome, the Court concluded that the complainants pleased the standing requirement due to the fact that they were pursuing a single PAGA action “on behalf of [themselves] and other present or previous workers,” albeit throughout 2 online forums.

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