Here’s a bit of positive news on the litigation front: An employee who is in the very first stages of litigation can’t demand the court force his employer to provide a list of names and addresses for all its employees. Instead, the employee has to first provide some proof of his own, individual claim before he can invade other workers’ privacy.
Recent case: Michael worked for a Marshalls retail store. After about a year, he filed a so-called Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) claim, alleging that he and other employees like him had not been reimbursed for necessary employee business expenses, had not received detailed pay stubs and did not receive mandated meal and rest breaks or payment for those missed breaks.
Michael’s attorneys moved for immediate disclosure of all employee names and addresses across all stores in the country.
The retailer objected, arguing that the move was premature and amounted to an invasion of employee rights to privacy.
The court agreed. It said that Michael had to first submit to six hours of depositions and show that the alleged violations occurred before he could seek out other victims of the alleged violations. (Williams v. Marshalls of CA., No. B259967, Court of Appeal of California 2015)
Final note: Decisions like this should discourage plaintiffs’ attorneys from filing class or collective action lawsuits without doing some serious investigation into the underlying allegations up front. That should mean fewer frivolous lawsuits.