Young v. RemX Specialty Staffing, 91 Cal. App. 5th 427 (2023)

Vanessa Young worked as an employee of staffing company RemX Specialty Staffing and was temporarily assigned to work at Bank of the West.  Young allegedly “verbally abused” a RemX representative on a call about delivery of her paycheck.  Young claimed that the RemX representative “basically” fired her from RemX; however, the representative instructed her in a contemporaneous email not to return to the bank.  Notwithstanding this directive, Young reported to work at the bank and was escorted from the premises by another RemX representative.  Young again alleged that this representative “basically implied” she was fired from RemX, but a subsequent email showed RemX only instructed her not to return to work at the bank.

Young sued RemX, alleging several causes of action including a PAGA claim.  Young’s individual claims were compelled to arbitration and the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal of her class claims.  Thus, Young’s only remaining claim was for PAGA penalties due to failure to timely pay final wages to a “discharged” employee under Cal. Lab. Code § 201.3.  The trial court granted summary judgment to RemX, finding that Young had not been discharged from her employment with RemX when she was instructed not to return to work at the bank.  The Court of Appeal affirmed. The Court of Appeal emphasized that a discharge requires the end of an employment relationship and that a discharge can only occur “when an employee is terminated from work with the temporary services employer, not when the employee is terminated from an assignment with a client.”  Thus, Young was not discharged when her temporary assignment with the bank ended because she was still employed by RemX.  RemX therefore was entitled to summary judgment because Section 201.3 requires a discharge to occur in order to trigger an employer’s obligation to pay final wages, and Young was not discharged.