Lawsuit Seeks to Have Private Attorneys General Act Declared Unconstitutional

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

On Wednesday, the California Business & Industrial Alliance (CABIA) representing hundreds of employers filed a complaint in Orange County challenging the Private Attorneys General Act’s (PAGA) constitutionality.

The opening synopsis of the complaint asks: Are California business owners who inadvertently make a payroll error equivalent to the worst perpetrators of hate crimes? That’s the twisted logic that, more than a decade ago, led the state legislature to pass a harmful law known as PAGA.

PAGA was conceived as a means to help employees right workplace wrongs without further burdening the state bureaucracy. Trial attorneys quickly discovered that they could use the law for their own benefit; today, thousands of PAGA complaints are filed annually against large and small businesses, nonprofit charities, and even labor unions.

PAGA, as written and practiced, is unconstitutional. With this complaint, CABIA is asking the state to enforce its own laws–rather than transferring the state’s power to private attorneys who operate for their own personal gain.

The complaint is 54 pages and tells the story that every legislator and lawmaker should read. Judges, employers, employees should also see the reality of these lawsuits and whom the real benefactors are. The top law firm suing on behalf of PAGA and the state has 753 lawsuits to date and that number will continue to grow as long is this law is still around.

After the lawsuit was filed there was a press conference and rally at the Old Orange County Courthouse. Business owners, employees, Irvine Mayor Don Wagner, Judge Stephen Bailey, and CABIA’s Board of Directors were present. The energy was electric as everyone had hope as the law dubbed “Sue your boss” was being challenged in court. Every business owner and employee at the press conference have been the victims of PAGA and all realize the devastating effects it has on everyone.

The fight has just begun and CABIA has, “Thrown the First Punch”, a phrase coined by CABIA Member Ken Thompson.

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