Paul DeCamp, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC office, was quoted in the Bloomberg BNA Daily Labor Report, in “California’s Unique Worker Law Under Attack by Business Group,” by Robert Iafolla. (Read the full version – subscription required.)

Following is an excerpt:

Mortgage lender Guaranteed Rate Inc., tea and coffee importer Royal Cup Inc., and a subsidiary of CIGNA Holdings Inc. are some of the businesses that have been hit in the first weeks of 2019 with claims brought by the California workers deputized to sue on the state’s behalf.

California’s unique Private Attorneys General Act allows workers to step into the shoes of a state enforcement agency and represent other workers hurt by alleged labor law violations. Although similar in ways to class actions, PAGA claims aren’t subject to employment contracts that include agreements to resolve disputes only in individual arbitration.

But companies operating in California won’t have to worry about PAGA if a business group prevails in a constitutional challenge to the law. The California Business & Industrial Alliance filed a lawsuit late last year in state court arguing that PAGA, intended to encourage private enforcement of labor laws, has become a “tool of extortion and abuse” that allows “greedy and unscrupulous plaintiff’s attorneys to shake down California employers.” …

Paul DeCamp, who represents CABIA, said the group and its lawyers are optimistic about getting a favorable ruling from a California court on one or more of the lawsuit’s constitutional claims. But the U.S. Supreme Court would be the “ultimate arbiter” of the lawsuit’s federal claims, said DeCamp, an attorney with Epstein Becker & Green.

“We’re hopeful this case tells enough of a compelling factual story that the courts will recognize the unfairness of the statute and declare it unconstitutional,” DeCamp told Bloomberg Law.

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