Areso v. CarMax, Inc., 195 Cal. App. 4th 996 (2011)

Leena Areso, who worked as a commissioned sales consultant for CarMax, filed this class action lawsuit, asserting that she and the members of the putative class were owed unpaid overtime. Areso argued that CarMax’s uniform payment of approximately $150 per vehicle is piece-rate compensation rather than a commission because it is not based on a percentage of the sale amount. The Court of Appeal affirmed summary judgment in favor of CarMax, concluding that the payment system was a commission within the meaning of Labor Code § 204.1 because “[p]aying salespeople a uniform fee for each vehicle is proportionate – a one to one proportion. The compensation will rise and fall in direct proportion to the number of vehicles sold.” See also Flores v. Lamps Plus, Inc., 195 Cal. App. 4th 389 (2011) (yet another opinion concluding that the “provide” rather than “ensure” standard governs an employer’s obligation with respect to meal and rest breaks); United Parcel Service, Inc. v. Superior Court, 196 Cal. App. 4th 57 (2011) (employees who miss both meal and rest breaks in a single workday may be entitled to up to two premium payments under Labor Code § 226.7).