Today’s post is on AB 1654 by Assemblywoman Rubio from the 2018 legislative session. AB 1654 creates a new exemption from the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004, otherwise known as PAGA.

The exemption is strictly for the construction industry, and it exempts from PAGA an employee in the construction industry – which is defined with respect to work performed under a valid collective bargaining agreement in effect any time before January 1, 2025.

That collective bargaining agreement, CBA, must contain certain provisions, including among other things a grievance and binding arbitration procedure to address violations that authorize the arbitrator to award otherwise available remedies.

PAGA, in effect, encourages class‑action type lawsuits over minor employment issues because once a PAGA lawsuit has been filed, the employee or class plaintiff is suing on behalf of the state.

The issues involved are no longer subject to arbitration. The threat of extended litigation, including wide‑ranging discovery allowed when prosecuting civil claims in court, on behalf of an entire class of workers, provides enormous pressure on employers to settle claims regardless of the validity of those claims.

Assemblywoman Rubio, the bill’s author, stated, “This bill would commit PAGA claims arising in the building and construction industry to the grievance and arbitration machinery of a collective bargaining agreement maintained by the employers and a union in that industry so long as that CBA expressly provides for certain key provisions, including grievance and binding arbitration procedures.”

You can find a transcript of today’s podcast here.