California’s small businesses and workers are being taken advantage of by shakedown lawsuits under PAGA, with lawyers taking billions and workers waiting years to have their claims resolved.

Lawyers are the big winners in these lawsuits, walking away with millions and leaving employees with pennies on the dollar.

Nonprofits and small, family-run businesses are easy targets for predatory lawsuits based on minor technical violations of the 1,000+ page labor code.


California’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) allows private attorneys to file lawsuits in the name of the state against businesses for alleged labor code violations and collect fees for themselves. These violations can be as minor as a wrong address on pay stubs. Many times, these cases don’t include any lost wages or pay.

Predatory lawyers pursue these claims at the expense of low-wage workers and businesses so they can take a third of settlements leaving very little for the workers.

Under PAGA, it takes at least a year longer for workers to get their claims resolved than it does for workers who file claims with the State’s PAGA Unit.

PAGA has turned into a huge payday for attorneys. In a recent settlement, employees only received less than $55 each while the trial lawyers walked away with more than $7 million.

Californians Deserve a Solution

PAGA shakedown lawsuits have exploded over the last decade yet state data shows that workers have better outcomes when their claims are handled by an independent regulator.


The Stop the Shakedowns coalition engages in public education, legislation and court cases to achieve meaningful PAGA reforms that create better outcomes for workers and businesses. We believe any PAGA reform must:

Put workers’ claims back in the hands of independent regulators, not self-interested attorneys

Hold bad actors accountable and improve awards to harmed workers

Hold bad actors accountable and improve awards to harmed workers

  • Double penalties for willful violations, but eliminate stacking of penalties
  • Direct 100% of penalty payments to the employee instead of giving the bulk of the money to the state

Reduce unnecessary litigation against employers with outrageous claims for attorney’s fees

Protect existing rights to appeal Labor Commissioner decisions to superior court


The Stop the Shakedowns coalition supports meaningful PAGA reforms to create better outcomes for workers, small businesses, and non-profits. We support public education, legislative fixes, and court outcomes that align with our supported policy platform to reform PAGA and prevent it from being used to line the pockets of trial lawyers at the expense of workers and businesses.

PLEASE NOTE: Joining the coalition is not an endorsement of any legislation, campaign or ballot initiative. The coalition will contact your organization with opportunities to engage in PAGA reform.