The Real Business Owners Burned by PAGA—the Private Attorneys General Act – Opinion

Tim Brickley. Blaine Eastcott. Bob “BJ” McCoy. Bruce Wick. Gwen Gordon. These business owners have left their businesses and come to Washington, D.C., in order to clarify the Private Attorneys General Act.

RedState published information about the California Business and Industrial Alliance, (CABIA), Rally on the Supreme Court steps on March 30, in which the business owners participated. Blaine Eastcott (owner of Rockcreation Climbing Gyms) and Maria Schaeffer (director of administration at Brickley Environmental), had to face a PAGA suit and speak directly from both the employer’s perspective and that of an employee.

Even though a PAGA lawsuit may seem like it doesn’t affect employees, it does.

“Well, it’s the boss’s issue, but it takes away from the employees so there is no more latitude, Schaeffer said.

“They have no flexibility now. You can’t just give someone time off. You can’t just say, come in when you can, or when you need to leave, don’t worry about it, make up your time.”

Eastcott has two offices of his business, which explains why employees and customers ultimately suffer.

“I have to borrow money to pay it [the PAGA lawsuit]Eastcott said,

“Which means if I am paying a pocket lawsuit, I’m not paying my employees a better wage. I’m not paying the bonuses when, you know Christmas rolls around, or when the company does better. [I cannot do this] because I’m burdened by these loans. I’m not buying amenities, or pouring back into the community of people that use the facilities. Lastly, I’m not reaping the benefits as an owner and putting money away for my kid’s college and things like that that.”

Schaeffer highlighted also the financial and administrative restrictions employees face after filing a PAGA suit.

“You can’t just hand them a bonus ’cause they’ve done a great job. There’s no rewards. Recognizing one is not enough. So, it was very burdensome.”

In addition to CABIA and other groups, like the Western Growers Association (which represents California agricultural concerns) or the California Chamber of Commerce which are both pushing for PAGA reforms, Schaeffer and Eastcott also hope that a favorable Supreme Court decision in their favor. Schaeffer as well as Eastcott are hopeful of a favorable Supreme Court verdict. Viking River Cruises Inc. v. MorianaThis, together with the California Fair Pay and Employer Accountability Act’s (CFPEAA), ballot initiative, will help to enact reform and possibly even repeal PAGA.

“Hopefully there’s some reforms, Schaeffer said.

“It needs to be. It’s going to push companies out of California for sure.”

Eastcott is adamant about this. In terms of his company’s future, it may even be true. Eastcott may decide to grow his business beyond two. If so, his next location could be in Arizona, Nevada or another business-friendly place.

“I’m hoping that the Supreme Court recognizes that this law has been twisted and that they will start the conversation that can educate the public, he said.

“I’m hoping in June it gets overturned, so that [the law] actually gets reformed where it protects employees, isn’t so costly to businesses and doesn’t enrich trial attorneys.”

Here is Blaine Eastcott’s story and Rally speech:


Maria Schaeffer’s Rally speech is here:

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