Moniz v. Adecco USA, Inc., 72 Cal. App. 5th 56 (2021)

Rachel Moniz filed a PAGA notice with the Labor Workforce and Development Agency (“LWDA”) and a subsequent lawsuit alleging that Adecco, her former employer, maintained and implemented unlawful limitations on the disclosure of information such as wages, working conditions and non-public information of commercial value. After two mediation sessions, the parties moved for approval of a settlement agreement, but the trial court declined to approve the settlement because the release was too broad. After the parties narrowed the release, the trial court approved the settlement, but the LWDA then moved to intervene, objecting to the settlement and seeking to vacate the judgment. The trial court then vacated the judgment because timely notice of the settlement had not been provided to the LWDA. The trial court ultimately approved the settlement, which was then challenged on appeal by another claimant (Paola Correa) who had filed a separate action. Although Correa raised multiple procedural and substantive objections to the settlement, the Court of Appeal rejected all of them with the exception of Correa’s challenge to the fairness of the settlement itself, which included a disproportionate allocation of civil penalties among temporary and full-time employees, and on that basis the Court reversed the judgment.