The California Fair Pay and Accountability Act (CFPAA) — which aims to reform the 2004 Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) — is expected to verify sufficient signatures to qualify for the 2024 ballot.

Far West Equipment Dealers Association joined the Californians for Fair Pay and Accountability coalition, spearheaded by the California New Car Dealers Association, Western Growers, California Chamber of Commerce, California Restaurant Association, California Grocers Association, and the California Manufacturing and Technology Association, which reports it has reached nearly 945,000 signatures from California voters to qualify the measure for the ballot. Because of timing voters won’t decide until two years from now.

Additional contributions are needed to support a strong campaign over the next 18 months. The coalition estimates that $40 million or more is required to outpace the trail lawyers.

CFPAA would create a labor commission to resolve worker claims, avoiding prolonged and costly court cases. It would also ensure penalty payments from claims resolved in a worker’s favor would go to workers instead of lawyers or the state.

“This measure also protects small businesses that are complying with labor laws and makes it easier to do so,” says Dave Puglia, president and chief executive officer of the Western Growers Association. “Family farmers cannot afford to be subjected to the shakedown lawsuits that PAGA has unleashed.”

Jot Condie, president and chief executive officer of the California Restaurant Association, adds “State data proves that it can take years in the courts before an employee can get a ruling on their claim. Unfortunately, it’s not the workers that get the big payout, the trial lawyers get millions of dollars dragging proceedings out for years.”

Coalition business say PAGA clouds the necessary feature of enforcing labor code violations. Plagued with frivolous lawsuits and multiple court decisions expanding PAGA’s reach, PAGA does not successfully complete its intended purpose.

CFPAA would do away with PAGA’s system of employees filing lawsuits on behalf of themselves, other employees, and the State of California for any labor code violations. The act would have employees file directly to the Labor Commission and it increases funding for the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement allowing it to handle the new system.

Employees would receive 100% of the award for labor code violations and not be subjected to attorney’s typical 33% of the settlement. Instituting this new payment structure and directly filing complaints to the labor commission removes the incentive for frivolous lawsuits.

The act also establishes a Consultation and Policy Publication division where employers who do not have active lawsuits against them can receive guidance and resolve code violations without penalty.

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