Recent Wage and Hour Law 2017-03-06T01:20:10+00:00

Recent Wage and Hour Law

Piece Rate Workers Must Be Paid for Time Spent

Automotive service technicians sued their employer based on the way they were paid.  The employer contended the tech were paid legally because they made sure the techs were never paid less than minimum wage, when their hourly pay was averaged against what they received from piece rate work. On March 6, 2013, the state Second District Court of Appeals sided with the employees – that employer’s can’t use averaging to determine minimum wage was paid for all hours.  The question is whether each hour was compensated with at least minimum wage without averaging.  Gonzalez v. Downtown LA Motors (CA 2/2 B235292)

Another Chapter in Arbitration Wars

The legality of arbitration agreements brings a lot of people to Court in California.  In this case, an order denying Defendant’s motion to compel arbitration was brought to the California Appeals Court, who found the trial court did not err in deciding the arbitration agreement was unenforceable under Massachusetts law, which the parties agreed applied to the employment relationship in question.  Plaintiff cited a Massachusetts case, which she argued precluded arbitration of her discrimination claims, because the agreement did not specifically mention antidiscrimination cases. The court sided with the Plaintiff, and that under California’s choice-of-law rules, the agreement’s clause governs whether the agreement is enforceable under a chosen state.  Harris v. Bingham McCutchen(9th Cir. 11-55669 6/8/12)

One Interpretation of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes

In light of the recent decision in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a district court’s certification of a class of newspaper writers. The Ninth Circuit directed the lower court to reconsider its analysis in light of Wal-Mart, a disapproval of what the Supreme Court called “trial by formula,” where a sample of class members’ damages are used to determine what individuals are owed.  The Wang case held that an employer’s internal exemption policies are applied uniformly to employees, ignoring the potential for individual issues that may make class treatment difficult, the recent decision held.  However, plaintiffs need only one common question to satisfy the requirements of Rule 23(a)(2) Wang v. Chinese Daily News, Inc. (9th Cir. 08-55483 3/4/13)

Plaintiffs Win Hard Fought Certification Post Brinker

Plaintiffs’ motion to certify a wage and hour class action was due to individual issues, which held on appeal.  Then the California Supreme Court granted review and remanded after the Brinker decision.  The court reexamined the record and supplemental briefs and concluded that the trial court erred in refusing to certify all claims except the alleged off-the-clock violations.  Bradley v. Networkers International(CA4/1 D052365A 12/12/12)

Class Certification Against Sears Denied

Plaintiff William Dailey sued on behalf of a class of managers and assistant managers of Sears auto centers, alleging that they violated California’s wage and hour laws.  Dailey attempted to certify the class, alleging uniform policy and practice resulted in their treatment with regard to meal and rest breaks and overtime.  The trial court granted Sears’ motion to preclude and denied Dailey’s motion to certify, because too many individual issues were involved.  Dailey appealed, saying a more detailed explanation for the court’s ruling on certification was necessary.  The record was determined to contain enough evidence that Dailey’s theory of liability wasn’t amenable to class treatment.  Dailey v. Sears, Roebuck (CA4/1 D61055 3/20/13)

IHSS Worker Was Joint State, Association Employee

A state appeals court decision has resulted in a determination that a home health care worker was jointly employed by the state and a local association.  Adeline Tapia Guerrero worked providing in care under the In-Home Support Services Act (IHSS).  The appeals court ruled that a demurrer should not have been sustained on her federal and state wage and hour claims.  The basic question was who her employer was, given that the IHSS, a social welfare program that pays for in home care, provided the money for caregivers but the local agency oversaw disbursement of the funds.  Guerrero v. Superior Court. (CA1/Div.2 2/11/13)

Debarment Overturned in Prevailing Wage Case

A man appealed a “debarment” decision from the State of California’s Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE).  The decision would have prevented the appellant and his company from bidding or working on public works construction projects for a year.  The trial court decided there was no credible evidence to support intent to defraud, and granted Pacific’s petition for writ of administrative mandate.  The DLSE appealed, arguing that there was in fact substantial evidence to support the finding of intent to defraud.  The Fifth District Court of appeals reversed the lower court’s decision on March 18, 2013, siding with the DLSE’s opinion that the “substantial evidence” standard of proof had been used. Ayodeji A. Ogundare v. Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. (5th District Appellate decision – 3/1813)

For more information or for a free consultation call 1-877-219-8481