Mendoza v. Nordstrom Inc., 865 F.3d 1261 (9th Cir. 2017)

In response to three questions asked of it by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the California Supreme Court opined as follows:

  1. A day of rest is guaranteed for each workweek. Periods of more than six consecutive days of work that stretch across more than one workweek are not per se prohibited.
  2. The exemption for employees working shifts of six hours or less applies only to those who never exceed six hours of work on any day of the workweek. If on any one day an employee works more than six hours, a day of rest must be provided during that workweek, subject to whatever other exceptions might apply.
  3. An employer causes its employee to go without a day of rest when it induces the employee to forgo rest to which he or she is entitled. An employer is not, however, forbidden from permitting or allowing an employee, fully apprised of the entitlement to rest, independently to choose not to take a day of rest.

With these principles in mind, the Ninth Circuit held that the two employees in this case who sought to lead the PAGA action did not work more than six consecutive days in any one Nordstrom workweek, so their individual claims under California Labor Code §§ 551 and 552 were properly dismissed. In response, the two plaintiffs (or, more accurately, their lawyers) argued that the case should be remanded to the district court in order to permit a new PAGA representative who did suffer violations under the statute to “step forward” and continue litigating the case. The Ninth Circuit disagreed and affirmed dismissal of the case by the district court.