Lawmakers outside of California are considering whether to adopt representative actions. California’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) deputizes employees to pursue civil penalties on behalf of the state against employers for labor code violations. Since its passage in 2004, PAGA has become a boon to California (the state collected over USD 100 million in penalties last year) and the plaintiffs’ bar, with plaintiffs tacking PAGA claims on to other class claims for each alleged California labor code violation.
In June, Maine passed “An Act to Enhance Enforcement of Employment Laws,” authorizing workers alleging violations of certain labor laws, including wage and hour laws, to bring private enforcement actions after providing notice. Significantly, the law also provided that advocacy groups and other organizations could bring suit on behalf of workers. While Maine’s Governor recently vetoed the bill, laws with PAGA-like enforcement provisions have been proposed in other state legislatures. Whether laws will take effect outside of California remains to be seen.