Morales v. Factor Surfaces LLC, 2021 WL 4818687 (Cal. Ct. App. 2021)

Byron Jerry Morales sued his former employer, Factor Surfaces LLC, and its managing agent for unpaid overtime wages, meal and rest break compensation, statutory penalties, and wrongful termination, among other things.  After a bench trial, the court awarded Morales $99,394.16, including $42,792 in unpaid overtime wages.  On appeal, the employer argued the trial court erred in calculating Morales’ regular rate of pay.  At trial, the employer testified that all of Morales’ employment records were in his truck, which was stolen while parked in his gated complex, and that when the truck was recovered, all of the records were gone.  The trial court found the employer’s testimony regarding the theft of records to be “unbelievable and afforded no weight to that testimony.”  In the absence of proof from the employer of the regular rate of pay, the trial court relied upon calculations offered by Morales which were a “fair and accurate estimation of the overtime wages owed to him.” The Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment in favor of Morales.