California Labor Codes 2699

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§ 2699 Private Right of Actions to Enforce Labor Code

History:



(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any provision of this code that provides for a civil penalty to be assessed and collected by the Labor and Workforce Development Agency or any of its departments, divisions, commissions, boards, agencies, or employees, for a violation of this code, may, as an alternative, be recovered through a civil action brought by an aggrieved employee on behalf of himself or herself and other current or former employees.

(b) For purposes of this part, "person" has the same meaning as defined in Section 18.

(c) For purposes of this part, "aggrieved employee" means any person who was employed by the alleged violator and against whom one or more of the alleged violations was committed.

(d) For purposes of this part, whenever the Labor and Workforce Development Agency, or any of its departments, divisions, commissions, boards, agencies, or employees has discretion to assess a civil penalty, a court is authorized to exercise the same discretion, subject to the same limitations and conditions, to assess a civil penalty.

(e) For all provisions of this code except those for which a civil penalty is specifically provided, there is established a civil penalty for a violation of these provisions, as follows: (1) If, at the time of the alleged violation, the person does not employ one or more employees, the civil penalty is five hundred dollars ($500). (2) If, at the time of the alleged violation, the person employs one or more employees, the civil penalty is one hundred dollars ($100) for each aggrieved employee per pay period for the initial violation and two hundred dollars ($200) for each aggrieved employee per pay period for each subsequent violation. (3) If the alleged violation is a failure to act by the Labor and Workplace Development Agency, or any of its departments, divisions, commissions, boards, agencies, or employees, there shall be no civil penalty.

(f) An aggrieved employee may recover the civil penalty described in subdivision (e) in a civil action filed on behalf of himself or herself and other current or former employees against whom one or more of the alleged violations was committed. Any employee who prevails in any action shall be entitled to an award of reasonable attorney's fees and costs. Nothing in this section shall operate to limit an employee's right to pursue other remedies available under state or federal law, either separately or concurrently with an action taken under this section.

(g) No action may be maintained under this section by an aggrieved employee if the agency or any of its departments, divisions, commissions, boards, agencies, or employees, on the same facts and theories, cites a person for a violation of the same section or sections of the Labor Code under which the aggrieved employee is attempting to recover a civil penalty on behalf of himself or herself or others or initiates a proceeding pursuant to Section 98.3.

(h) Except as provided in subdivision (i), civil penalties recovered by aggrieved employees shall be distributed as follows: 50 percent to the General Fund, 25 percent to the Labor and Workforce Development Agency for education of employers and employees about their rights and responsibilities under this code, available for expenditure upon appropriation by the Legislature, and 25 percent to the aggrieved employees.

(i) Civil penalties recovered under paragraph (1) of subdivision (e) shall be distributed as follows: 50 percent to the General Fund and 50 percent to the Labor and Workforce Development Agency available for expenditure upon appropriation by the Legislature.

(j) Nothing contained in this part is intended to alter or otherwise affect the exclusive remedy provided by the workers' compensation provisions of this code for liability against an employer for the compensation for any injury to or death of an employee arising out of and in the course of employment.

(k) This section shall not apply to the recovery of administrative and civil penalties in connection with the workers' compensation law as contained in Division 1 (commencing with Section 50) and Division 4 (commencing with Section 3200), including, but not limited to, Sections 129.5 and 132.a.