California Supreme Court Allows PAGA Plaintiffs to Obtain Early Discovery of Fellow Employees’ Identity and Contact Information
A store employee filed a putative class action against his employer under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) alleging failure to, (1) provide employees with meal and rest breaks or premium pay in lieu thereof, (2) provide accurate wage statements, (3) reimburse employees for necessary business-related expenses, and (4) pay all earned wages during employment. A discovery dispute ensued. The California Supreme Court weighed in holding the identity and contact information of an employer's other employees in California was relevant and discoverable and a PAGA plaintiff is presumptively entitled to that information in the early stages of litigation. The court reasoned that such information is available and “routinely discoverable as an essential prerequisite to effectively seeking group relief” in non-PAGA class actions without any requirement that the plaintiff first show good cause and PAGA plaintiffs should enjoy the same access to early discovery.