Business Continued to be Plagued By PAGA Lawsuits 

Tom Manzo
President, Timely Prefinished Steel Door Frames and President and Chairman of the Board at California Business and Industrial Alliance

The company I run, Timely Industries was a victim of a PAGA Lawsuit, and what lead me to fight to change this law. Our violation was late lunches and misclassified safety incentives that cost us over a million dollars. In the last year alone more than 8,000 businesses and non-profits have also been the victim of a PAGA Lawsuit.

I hear from business owners and managers daily and these lawsuits are life changing experiences and could be compared to the stress of a divorce or the death of a spouse. Most of the stories are the same, their employee teetering on the edge of being fired, and the employer trying to help them. Final result is the employee seeking a trial attorney and suing their boss for miscalculated bonuses, or commissions, inaccurate employee ID numbers or misspelled company name on their check. There is plenty all of us could be doing wrong with a 1,400 page labor law digest to follow. 

What concerns me more than anything else is our legislators and judges have no idea what is going on in the business community because most are afraid to speak up. This is a shakedown and the business owner knows it and so does the trial attorney suing them. 97% of these cases are settled in mediation as fighting them is just too expensive.

Business owners are concerned that by speaking out they could get hit with another lawsuit, possibly the state agencies will hassle them, and what if it gets out the business appears to be anti labor by fighting the very laws that are hurting both. The only winners in these lawsuits are the trial lawyers.

Unions are a huge influence and most are afraid to speak out or go against them. The politicians are loyal because of their donations, the state workers are all union so they might not understand what an owner must do to meet payroll or how such laws are hurting good small business owners.

Repression is the use of force to restrict and control a society or other group of people. Small to medium sized business owners need to be heard and not afraid to speak out. Something is terribly wrong if we feel we are unable to voice our problems and work together for change. Democracy is not a one way street and our leaders need to realize there is silent killer amongst business owners and it is referred to as PAGA.

Rome’s sheer size made it difficult to govern, ineffective and inconsistent leadership only magnified the problem, civic pride waned, and Roman citizens lost trust in their leadership. We all know history has a tendency to repeat itself and we should not allow this to happen to our great state.

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