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Impact of California’s PAGA Cases Ruling on HR (Plus Proactive Measures for Compliance)

Impact of California’s PAGA Cases Ruling on HR (Plus Proactive Measures for Compliance)

Impact of California’s PAGA Cases Ruling on HR (Plus Proactive Measures for Compliance) 2560 1630 Alicia East

In a pivotal legal update, the California Supreme Court has ruled that lawsuits filed under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) cannot be dismissed on the basis of unmanageability. This judgment reaffirms California’s dedication to upholding labor laws through PAGA, enabling employees to sue employers for breaches of compliance. For HR professionals, it’s essential to grasp the implications of this decision.

Understanding the Decision

The determination that PAGA lawsuits are not dismissible ensures that more cases can advance in court. This decision amplifies the potential for individual employees to challenge companies over any labor law non-compliance, regardless of the complexity of employment agreements or the challenges of managing the litigation. HR departments should note the increased legal exposure this entails.

Implications for HR Departments

HR departments typically manage diverse employee relations across various operational sectors, often creating intricate employment structures. The recent verdict necessitates a meticulous review of compliance protocols by HR teams to mitigate heightened risks of litigation, financial liabilities, and potential damage to reputation.

Proactive Strategies to Mitigate Risks

To navigate this legal environment effectively, HR departments can adopt several proactive measures:

  1. Enhanced Compliance Programs: Establish thorough compliance programs that adhere to all facets of labor law, including payment regulations, mandated breaks, and other entitlements. It is crucial to conduct regular audits and update these programs in response to evolving laws.
  2. Efficient Payroll Management: Invest in dependable payroll solutions or engage partners to ensure that all relevant details (such as hours worked, wages, and benefits) are tracked accurately. Automation can minimize errors and maintain compliance across different legal landscapes.
  3. Accurate Worker Classification: Clearly differentiate between independent contractors and employees to prevent misclassification claims, which are prevalent under PAGA. Classify all personnel accurately, based on criteria established by state laws. This is another area a partner that specializes in worker classification can pay off big time. 
  4. Collaboration with Experts: Partner with specialists in payroll and compliance to regularly review and provide advice on employment practices and act as the Employer of Record (EOR) when needed.
  5. Transparent Communication: Keep open lines of communication with employees. Implementing mechanisms for addressing grievances internally can prevent issues from escalating into legal disputes.

The Bottom Line

The recent California Supreme Court ruling underscores the necessity for HR professionals to ensure thorough compliance with labor laws. By putting in place stringent compliance measures, effective payroll management, precise worker classification, and robust internal communication, HR departments can safeguard their organizations from increased PAGA litigation risks. Feel free to schedule a complimentary consultation on how to protect against legal challenges while enhancing your organization’s reputation as a fair employer.