Plaintiff Asserting Claim Under Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) Must Provide Adequate Notice And May Not Proceed Individuallyin Employment Law by Timothy Reuben
The Court of Appeal, Second District, recently clarified what constitutes adequate notice to the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) in order to assert a PAGA claim. In Khan v. Dunn-Edwards Corp. (2018) 19 Cal.App.5th 804, plaintiff brought a lawsuit for paystub violations. Pending the litigation, he sent the required notice which stated it was for “my claims against my former employer. . .” The Court of Appeal affirmed summary judgment when it held the plaintiff failed to properly notify the LWDA because the notice referred only to the plaintiff and no other employees. The Court reasoned that the notice was inadequate because the LWDA may have chosen not to dedicate resources to investigate what appeared to be an individual violation.
The Court further determined that the plaintiff could not proceed with the PAGA claim on his own behalf because PAGA can only be brought as a representative action, as the plaintiff’s other individual claims had been dismissed. Khan also raises the question of what specificity is ultimately required in the notice letter to the LWDA, opening the door for another point of attack for the defendant. Clearly, reference to the plaintiff’s own claims, and nothing more, is insufficient.