PAGA is a unique California labor law that allows employees to recover 25% of any provision of the California Labor Code that provides for a civil penalty to be assessed and collected by the Labor and Workforce Development Agency (known by lay people as the Labor Commission), or any of its departments, divisions, commissions, boards, agencies, or employees. PAGA actions are brought by aggrieved employees on behalf of themself and other current or former employees. “To be subject to the [PAG] Act, the employee's cause of action must allege a violation of one of the provisions listed in section 2699.5 (§ 2699.3, subd. (a)) and seek recovery of a ‘civil penalty’ assessable by the [LWDA] (§ 2699, subds. (a)(f)).” (Caliber, supra, 134 Cal.App.4th at p. 378, 36 Cal.Rptr.3d 31, some italics added.),” Dunlap v. Superior Court 142 Cal.App.4th 330, 340 (2006). California Labor Code Section 2699.5 enumerates most California Labor Code sections that deal with penalties for wage violations that do not have private enforcement or damage provisions for the employee effected.


PAGA does not limit the employee’s right to pursue other remedies available under state law either separately or concurrently with PAGA penalties, Caliber Bodyworks, Inc. v. Superior Court, 134 Cal.App.4th 365, 375. This means employees do not have to chose between relief under a California Labor Code and PAGA. They can get both.

If you have a good case we will take your case. If you have a small case we can refer your case to a lawyer, starting off, who regularly handles small cases. After representing employees for so many years attorneys commonly come to us asking if we might be able to refer cases when they decide to strike out on their own.


sue for overtime penalties

PAGA lawsuits can be brought along with actual claims for unpaid bonuses, commissions, meal breaks, minimum wage, overtime, prevailing wage, or rest breaks. The PAGA claims add potential value to the employee’s wage claims. Employers take issue with PAGA because the potential penalties are extensive. For example, the failure to pay overtime or prevailing wage is likely to trigger a great number of Labor Code violations which lead to PAGA penalties of $200 per Labor Code violation.

With our clients, our wage and hour lawyers carefully evaluate the best course of action for an employee owed wages. It is the employee’s decision whether they wish to pursue PAGA penalties. If the wage and hour violation occurred amongst a large enough group of people the client and our firm head, Karl Gerber, will evaluate whether the wage recovery action should be on behalf of one employee, a group of employees, a class, and/or include PAGA penalties.

PAGA has a strict statute of limitations rule. The statute of limitations in which to exhaust PAGA claims before brining the PAGA action is more limited than the lengthy statutes of limitations to collect wages. For these reasons it is important not to sit on potential PAGA claims.


The decision to bring a PAGA action must be made with an experienced PAGA lawyer. Firm head, Karl Gerber, has been at the forefront of PAGA actions since the law was established that allows for PAGA actions. His academic credentials in PAGA actions include several articles published in legal journals, early on, during the enactment of PAGA. He also was approved to provide continuing legal education seminars to other lawyers about PAGA, and provided continuing legal education seminars to other lawyer.

Over the years the Employment Lawyers Group obtained the following PAGA case results:

In 2016 total Settlement of $400,000 after a won arbitration for four employees that warranted PAGA penalties

In 2015 a PAGA settlement of more than 80% of all potential PAGA penalties the court could have found

An arbitration for 69 aggrieved employees under PAGA that was won and hundreds of thousands of dollars went to the employees