Individual employee can assert representative claim in arbitration for labor code private attorneys general penalties

September 19, 2012 -- In an arbitration proceeding in which class actions are barred, PE&G attorneys Nick Carlin and Cari Cohorn persuaded the arbitrator, in an apparent case of first impression, that an individual employee may pursue Private Attorney General Act ("PAGA") penalties for Labor Code violations committed against all other similarly situated employees. The arbitrator rejected the employer's contention that representative actions under PAGA are akin to class actions such that the class action bar should also apply to representative PAGA actions.