In the heart of San Diego, Bread & Cie, a beloved local bakery, faced an ordeal that nearly brought the company to its knees. Amid the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the bakery took steps to ensure the safety of both its customers and employees by adhering to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, which included requiring employees to wash their hands for 20 seconds before clocking in. While this measure was intended to combat the spread of the virus, it inadvertently led to a Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) lawsuit that cost the company hundreds of thousands of dollars and jeopardized its survival.

As we mark PAGA’s 20th anniversary in 2024, the act’s impact on California businesses is under scrutiny. With nearly 8,000 PAGA notices filed in 2023 alone — up 34 percent from the previous year — it’s clear the law has morphed into a tool used by trial attorneys to line their own pockets, while small and medium-sized businesses like Bread & Cie pay the price. 

Listen to Cia from Bread & Cie’s first-hand account. Her story serves as a stark reminder of the consequences PAGA continues to wreak in California.