Medina v. Equilon Enter., LLC, 68 Cal. App. 5th 868 (2021)

Santiago Medina worked as a gas station cashier and manager for Equilon Enterprises, which is a Shell Oil Company subsidiary doing business as Shell Oil Products US.  Medina sued Equilon and Shell for various wage/hour violations, arguing that Shell was his joint employer.  The trial court granted Shell’s motion for summary judgment based upon two prior opinions of the California Court of Appeal, but the Court of Appeal reversed, holding that Shell both indirectly controlled Medina’s wages and working conditions and suffered or permitted him to work at Shell’s gas stations, either of which was enough to make Shell Medina’s joint employer.  The Court distinguished the earlier cases on the grounds that in this case Shell employees told Medina they had the power to fire him; Shell had control over Equilon’s bank accounts and received payments for fuel; and Shell had the power to add or remove individual stations to and from MSO operator clusters at any time for any reason.