California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: Exempt Employees

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Class Certification Was Properly Denied To Retail Store Managers

Mora v. Big Lots Stores, Inc., 194 Cal. App. 4th 496 (2011) Putative class representatives Ana Mora, et al., asserted claims for unpaid overtime, meal and rest periods and related wage-and-hour violations against their former employer Big Lots Stores, Inc. and its affiliate PNS Stores, Inc. Plaintiffs asserted that they and similarly situated Big Lots … Continue Reading

Pharmaceutical Sales Reps Were Properly Classified As Exempt Outside Sales Employees

Christopher v. SmithKline Beecham Corp., 635 F.3d 383 (2011) Michael Christopher and Frank Buchanan were employed as pharmaceutical sales representatives (“PSRs”) of SmithKline d/b/a GlaxoSmithKline (“Glaxo”) and were classified as outside salesmen exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act. PSRs work outside of a Glaxo office and spend much of their time traveling to the … Continue Reading

Claims Adjusters Were Properly Classified As Exempt Administrative Employees

Hodge v. Aon Ins. Servs., 192 Cal. App. 4th 1361 (2011) Plaintiffs in this case are claims adjusters employed by a third party administrator (Cambridge Integrated Services Group, Inc.). Depending on the entity with which it contracts and the terms of the contract, Cambridge adjusts general liability, vehicle-related and workers’ compensation claims. In their claim … Continue Reading

UPS Manager/Supervisor Was Exempt From Overtime

In re United Parcel Service Wage & Hour Cases, 2010 WL 4983586 (Cal. Ct. App. 2010) At various times during his employment with UPS, David Taylor held three different jobs, including hub supervisor, on-road supervisor and center manager/business manager, in which he supervised numerous hourly employees and lower level supervisors. In all three jobs, Taylor … Continue Reading

Reporters Were Entitled To Judgment In Wage And Hour Class Action

Wang v. Chinese Daily News, 623 F.3d 743 (2010) Plaintiffs (reporters for the Chinese Daily News) alleged they were non-exempt employees entitled to overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and California state law. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the reporters, finding journalists are not subject to the creative … Continue Reading

Employer Need Only Provide And Not Ensure Meal And Rest Breaks

Hernandez v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., 189 Cal.App.4th 751 (2010) Rogelio Hernandez worked as a non-exempt employee at Chipotle Mexican Grill. In this putative class action, Hernandez alleged that Chipotle violated California wage and hour law by failing to ensure that its employees took their meal breaks. The trial court granted Chipotle’s motion to deny … Continue Reading

Trial Court Properly Denied Class Certification To Restaurant Managers

Arenas v. El Torito Restaurants, Inc., 183 Cal. App. 4th 723 (2010) The plaintiffs in this case are salaried managers at El Torito, El Torito Grill and Guadala Harry’s restaurants in California from May 2002 to the present. Plaintiffs alleged they were misclassified as employees exempt from overtime because they routinely spent more than half … Continue Reading

Retroactive Overtime for Misclassified Salaried Employees: The DOL Supports the Fluctuating Workweek’s Half-Time Methodology

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (the “DOL”) Wage and Hour Division recently issued a Wage and Hour Opinion Letter, FLSA 2009-3, addressing how a company can compute overtime payments retroactively for salaried employees it had mistakenly classified as exempt (not overtime-eligible) under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA” or the “Act”). The DOL reiterated its … Continue Reading

Administrative Employee’s Overtime And Meal Period Claims Were Properly Dismissed

Combs v. Skyriver Communications, Inc., 159 Cal. App. 4th 1242 (2008) Mark Combs sued his former employer, Skyriver Communications, and Skyriver’s former interim CEO, Massih Tayebi, for violations of the California Labor Code, the Unfair Competition Law and the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004. Combs, who was employed as the manager of capacity planning … Continue Reading

Insurance Claims Adjusters Are Not Exempt From Overtime

Harris v. Superior Court, 154 Cal. App. 4th 164 (2007) Plaintiffs, members of four coordinated class actions filed against two insurance companies, alleged they were improperly classified as exempt employees in violation of the administrative exemption from the overtime requirements of California law. Applying the Administrative/Production Worker Dichotomy analysis, the Court of Appeal concluded that … Continue Reading

$120 Million Judgment For Unpaid Overtime Upheld In Favor Of Insurance Claims Reps

Bell v. Farmers Ins. Exchange, 115 Cal. App. 4th 715 (2004) Following a jury trial, Farmers Insurance Exchange was ordered to pay a class consisting of 2,402 current and former claims representatives over $90 million in unpaid overtime and over $32 million in prejudgment interest. The claims representatives contended that Farmers had improperly classified them … Continue Reading

Culinary School Instructors Were “Professionals” Exempt From Overtime

California School of Culinary Arts v. Lujan, 112 Cal. App. 4th 16 (2003) The employer, California School of Culinary Arts (CSCA), failed to pay its instructors overtime under Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Order 4-2001 on the ground that the instructors were subject to the professional exemption of the Wage Order. The California Division of Labor … Continue Reading

Employees Should Have Been Paid For Time Spent Getting Into And Out Of Protective Gear

Alvarez v. IBP, Inc., 339 F.3d 894 (9th Cir. 2003) Meat packing employees of IBP, Inc. (the world’s largest producer of fresh beef, pork and related products) filed a class action lawsuit alleging violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The employees (all of whom were non-exempt from the overtime requirements of state … Continue Reading

Truck Drivers’ Overtime Claim Was Subject To The Motor-Carrier Exemption

Collins v. Overnite Transp. Co., 105 Cal. App. 4th 171 (2003) The truck drivers in this case filed a class action, seeking unpaid overtime compensation from their employer, Overnite Transportation Company, a motor carrier. Overnite responded by filing a demurrer, seeking dismissal of the drivers’ claims on the ground that Wage Order No. 9 provides … Continue Reading

Field Service Engineer May Not Be Exempt “Administrative” Employee

Bothell v. Phase Metrics, Inc., 299 F.3d 1120 (9th Cir. 2002) Rex Bothell, a former field service engineer employed by Phase Metrics, Inc., alleged that he had been improperly classified as an exempt administrative employee under state and federal law and sought unpaid overtime. Phase Metrics maintained that Bothell was essentially an account manager who … Continue Reading

Trial Court Improperly Certified Class Of Employees In Overtime Case

Sav-On Drug Stores, Inc. v. Superior Court, 97 Cal. App. 4th 1070, review granted by the Cal. Supreme Court (2002) Plaintiffs alleged that Sav-On wrongfully failed to pay overtime wages to class members consisting of current and former employees who were classified as operating managers and assistant managers. After losing the class certification motion in … Continue Reading

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