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AB 520 – Joint And Severable Liability For Unpaid Wages
Current law authorizes the Labor Commissioner to investigate employee complaints and to provide for a hearing in any action to recover wages, penalties, and other demands for compensation. Under existing law, any individual or business entity is jointly and severally liable for unpaid wages, to the extent the amounts are for services performed under that contract, as provided, and except as specified. This bill would additionally provide that any public entity, defined as a city, county, city and county, district, public authority, public agency, and any other political subdivision or public corporation in the state, is similarly jointly and severally liable for any unpaid wages.
When two or more parties are jointly and severally liable for a tortious act, each party is independently liable for the full extent of the injuries stemming from the liability. Thus, if a plaintiff wins a money judgment against the parties collectively, the plaintiff may collect the full value of the judgment from any one of them. That party may then seek contribution from the other wrongdoers. This concept of choosing the defendant(s) from whom to collect damages is called the law of indivisible injury.
(Amends Section 238.5 of the Labor Code.)