Armenta v. Osmose, Inc., 135 Cal. App. 4th 314, 2005 WL 3549422 (Dec. 29, 2005)

Osmose, Inc., which is in the business of maintaining standing wood utility poles for major utility companies, employed union members as employees pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement. In this class action, the employees alleged they were not compensated for various tasks, including travel time in company vehicles, preparing daily paperwork, and maintaining company vehicles. Osmose argued that it had not violated the California minimum wage law because the average hourly pay the employees received exceeded the minimum wage. The employees argued they were entitled to be paid at least the minimum wage for each hour they worked, plus statutory penalties and interest, irrespective of the average hourly rate they received. The Court of Appeal affirmed judgment in favor of the employees, holding that the federal rule permitting averaging is not applicable under California law. The Court also affirmed an award of waiting time penalties (for willful failure to pay the minimum wage) and attorney’s fees and costs against Osmose.