The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case involving a San Fernando Valley business that could impact the Private Attorney General Act (PAGA), a law that went into effect in 2004 and which allows employees of a business to sue over labor law violations even if they were not impacted by the violations.
The case of Viking River Cruises Inc. in Woodland Hills involves a claim against it under PAGA. The cruise company was sued in 2018 by Angie Moriana, a former sales representative on behalf of hundreds of workers, claiming the company violated several provisions of California’s wage-and-hour laws, according to a story from Bloomberg.
The cruise line argued in its petition to the high court “whether the Federal Arbitration Act requires enforcement of a bilateral arbitration agreement providing that an employee cannot raise representative claims, including under PAGA.”
Viking said in its petition that the California Supreme Court was wrong in a 2014 case that ruled an individual employee did not have to submit to arbitration, which they agreed to, after filing a PAGA claim.
The 2014 case was in opposition to two Supreme Court rulings from 2011 and 2018 that found the Federal Arbitration Act superseded the California case, the company’s petition said.
In an email to the members of the California Business and Industrial Alliance, the group’s founder and president, Tom Manzo, said that the implications of a Supreme Court decision in Viking’s favor cannot be understated.
“If PAGA cases are subject to arbitration, it offers a clear pathway for employers to obtain relief from frivolous PAGA lawsuits,” wrote Manzo, who started the group, based in Sunland, in 2017 to specifically oppose the state law.
“In advance of the Supreme Court’s oral arguments next spring, we plan to submit a comprehensive amicus brief marshaling all of the data, stories and arguments that you – our members – have helped support these past few years,” Manzo wrote in the email.