ZB, N.A. v. Lawson, 2019 WL 4309684 (Sept. 12, 2019)In a much-anticipated decision, the California Supreme Court definitively decided that the wage component of Labor Code section 558 (“an amount sufficient to recover underpaid wages”)[i] is not part of the civil penalty that a private citizen can recover through a representative action under the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (“PAGA”)[ii] but rather a compensatory remedy only available to the Labor Commissioner (“DLSE”), as Section 558 does not create a private right of action. Thus, even though “Wages recovered pursuant to [Section 558] shall be paid to the affected employee,”[iii] the wages may only be collected through a DLSE claim. The decision overturns the holdings in Thurman v. Bayshore Transit Mgmt., Inc. (2012) 203 Cal.App.4th 1112 and its more recent progeny[iv] that the wage component is part of the PAGA civil penalty, as opposed to a separate claim for damages. In so ruling, the high court also laid waste to the argument that such damages are the type of “victim-specific relief” that could be compelled to arbitration;[v] after all, if employees cannot claim wage damages under Section 558, they cannot be compelled to arbitrate on that basis, either.