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September 16, 2003
Calif. Bill Would Let Employees Sue Employers over Labor-Law Violations
A bill before California Gov. Gray Davis would allow employees in the state to sue their employers to recover civil penalties for employment-law violations.

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The Associated Press reports that the state Senate passed the bill 21-17 and the Assembly approved the legislation on a 41-34 vote last week.

The legislation would allow employees harmed by violations to file lawsuits to enforce labor labors, if the state's labor agency has not pursued enforcement, according to the news agency. It would also establish the amount of civil penalties for violations.

Under the legislation, employers ruled to be in violation of employment laws, including workplace safety and minimum-wage statutes, would face a possible $100 fine for each employee per pay period for the first offense and a $200 fine for each employee per pay period for subsequent offenses, according to the AP.

Employees would receive 25 percent of the recovered money. Half of the recovered money would go to the state general fund and 25 percent would go to the Labor and Workforce Development Agency.

Sen. Joe Dunn, who authored the legislation, tells the news agency that the legislation would boost enforcement.

Opponents say the legislation would prompt a wave of frivolous lawsuits by employees.

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