Settling Employee Still “Aggrieved”
An employee filed a complaint against his former employer alleging individual and class claims for wage and hour violations and seeking civil penalties under Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). The employee settled the individual claims and the former employer sought summary adjudication arguing the employee was no longer an “aggrieved employee” and lacked standing to sue under PAGA. On appeal before the California high court was this question of first impression: Do employees lose standing to pursue a claim under PAGA if they settle and dismiss their individual claims for Labor Code violations? The Court said “no” and held the employee was an “aggrieved employee” with standing to maintain a claim for PAGA penalties. Accordingly, the defense of claim preclusion did not apply.