Semprini v. Wedbush Secs., Inc., 2020 WL 6557549 (Cal. Ct. App. 2020)

Joseph Semprini and another employee filed this putative class action against Wedbush for various wage and hour violations based upon an alleged misclassification of similarly situated financial advisors who were treated as exempt employees. Wedbush classified its California financial advisors as exempt from overtime pursuant to the administrative exemption. Since Wedbush pays its financial advisors on a commission-only basis, the question at issue in this case is whether the financial advisors are exempt since they were not paid a monthly salary equivalent to no less than two times the state minimum wage. Following a bench trial, the court ruled that Wedbush’s compensation plan satisfied the salary basis test and that the administrative exemption provided a complete defense to all remaining causes of action, entering judgment in favor of Wedbush. The Court of Appeal reversed, holding that a compensation plan based solely on commissions, with a recoverable draw against future commissions, does not qualify as a “salary” for purposes of the administrative exemption. See also Cruz v. Fusion Buffet, Inc., 2020 WL 6559229 (Cal. Ct. App. 2020) (affirming award of $47,000 in attorney’s fees to prevailing employee in wage/hour lawsuit).