Securitas Case Expands PAGA
The Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (Labor Code section 2698 et seq.)
(“PAGA”), deputizes “aggrieved employees,” giving them the authority to enforce California
Labor Code violations in the workplace on behalf of themselves and other aggrieved employees.
In PAGA actions, the State of California is the real party in interest while the employee acts as a
private attorney general. For this reason, if an aggrieved employee succeeds in a PAGA action,
25% of any civil penalties recovered goes to the aggrieved employees, while the State of
California receives the remaining 75%.
A PAGA action is different than a traditional class action where a plaintiff must have standing to
sue – the class representative plaintiff must have suffered the injury that the class they seek to
represent also suffered. As recently explained in Huff v. Securitas Security Services USA, Inc.,
2018 S.O.S. 2555 (May 23, 2018, review denied Aug. 8, 2018), a PAGA plaintiff may sue on behalf
of all other aggrieved employees who have suffered violations of the Labor Code even if the
PAGA plaintiff did not suffer those violations.
In the Securitas case, the trial court initially found that PAGA plaintiff Huff was not a temporary services
employee and therefore had no standing to sue for the violations relating to that category of
worker. However, the Court of Appeals reasoned that the purpose of PAGA is not to recover
damages or restitution, but to deputize private citizens as private attorneys general to enforce the
Labor Code. Therefore, the Court of Appeals allowed PAGA plaintiff Huff to bring claims even
if he did not personally experience the Labor Code violations. As long as a PAGA plaintiff
personally suffered at least one of the alleged violations, the PAGA plaintiff can bring any other
claim suffered by the aggrieved employees of the same employer.
Securitas clearly expanded the scope of PAGA. In order to fully take advantage of this
opportunity, a PAGA plaintiff must make sure to meet the pleading requirements by establishing
sufficient facts and theories for their claims. If you or someone you know are being denied your
meal and rest breaks, or are suffering any other wage related issues, contact Srourian Law Firm
to speak with an attorney about your rights.