Supreme Court holds that PAGA notice to public agency failing to provide notice on behalf of similarly situated individuals was still sufficient to maintain action for individuals other than Plaintiff

2021 case review: Santos v. El Guapos Tacos, LLC

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The Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA, Lab. Code 2698) provides a means whereby counsel seeking compensation for a given Plaintiff who has not received overtime or meal breaks or similar benefits can bring suit on behalf of all similarly situated employees of the defendant company. If suits are brought under this statutory framework, notice must be provided to the Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) (the relevant regulatory Agency).

In this instance, suit was filed on behalf of Mr. Chavez on his own, but also including broader claims under PAGA provisions. The trial court dismissed the PGA claims on the grounds that the Notice to the relevant agency did not inform the LWDA “of the claims of any other alleged similarly situated but unidentified individuals” or that Chavez-Cortez “intended to pursue this matter on behalf of these unnamed individuals.”

The Court of Appeals disagreed, finding that the Notice was sufficient to alert the Agency of the claims of a failure to provide required meal breaks, rest breaks and payment of appropriate overtime.