Pineda v. Bank of Am., N.A., 170 Cal. App. 4th 388 (2009)

Jorge Pineda filed this class action against Bank of America for unpaid wages and for “waiting-time” penalties under Labor Code § 203. Although Pineda gave the bank two weeks’ advance notice of his resignation, the bank failed to pay him his final pay until four days after his employment had ended. Pineda acknowledged that all wages due to him were paid before this action was filed. The trial court granted the bank’s motion for judgment on the pleadings after applying a one-year statute of limitations, but Pineda asserted that a four-year statute of limitations should be applied pursuant to the Unfair Competition Law. The trial court and the Court of Appeal disagreed with Pineda, holding that “continuation wages made payable by section 203 are a penalty, rather than wages, the recovery of which does not constitute restitution within the meaning of Business and Professions Code section 17203.” Cf. Blanks v. Seyfarth Shaw, 171 Cal. App. 4th 336 (2009) (in this legal malpractice action involving the Talent Agencies Act, the Court held the plaintiff should have filed his case with the Labor Commissioner within the Act’s one-year statute of limitations); Lu v. Hawaiian Gardens Casino, Inc., 170 Cal. App. 4th 466 (2009) (Labor Code § 351 does not prohibit tip pooling in casinos, but triable issue of fact existed as to whether some tip pool recipients were “agents” of the employer within the meaning of the statute).