Naranjo v. Spectrum Sec. Servs., Inc., 13 Cal. 5th 93 (2022)

Gustavo Naranjo alleged that his employer had not provided an additional hour of pay for each day on which Spectrum failed to provide employees with a legally compliant meal break (i.e., had failed to provide “premium pay” pursuant to Cal. Lab. Code § 226.7). Naranjo further alleged that Spectrum was required to report the premium pay on employees’ wage statements (Cal. Lab. Code § 226) and timely provide such premium pay to employees upon their discharge or resignation (Cal. Lab. Code §§ 201, 202 and 203). In this opinion, the California Supreme Court held that missed-break premium pay constitutes wages for purposes of Cal. Lab. Code § 203, so “waiting time penalties are available under that statute if the premium pay is not timely paid.” The Court further held that “failure to report premium pay for missed breaks can support monetary liability under section 226 for failure to supply an accurate itemized statement reflecting an employee’s gross wages earned, net wages earned, and credit hours worked.” Finally, the Court held that the default prejudgment interest rate of 7% was applicable to the meal break claim. Compare Meza v. Pacific Bell Tel. Co., 2022 WL 2186251 (Cal. Ct. App. 2022) (employer did not violate Section 226 by not including rates and hours from prior pay periods underlying an overtime true-up calculation).