California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: FLSA

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DOL’s Interpretation Of Tip Credit Regulation Does Not Merit Judicial Deference

Marsh v. J. Alexander’s LLC, 869 F.3d 1108 (9th Cir. 2017) Alec Marsh, who worked as a server for J. Alexander’s, alleged violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) based upon the employer’s failure to pay him the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Marsh further alleged that he received more than $30 … Continue Reading

Mortgage Underwriters Are Not Exempt From FLSA Overtime Requirements

McKeen-Chaplin v. Provident Sav. Bank, 2017 WL 2855084 (9th Cir. 2017) Mortgage underwriters at Provident Savings Bank review mortgage loan applications using guidelines established by Provident and investors in the secondary mortgage loan market, including Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the FHA. In this lawsuit for unpaid overtime arising under the federal Fair Labor Standards … Continue Reading

Employer’s Attorney May Be Liable For Retaliation Under FLSA

Arias v. Raimondo, 2017 WL 2676771 (9th Cir. 2017) José Arnulfo Arias worked as a milker for Angelo Dairy. The dairy did not complete and file a Form I-9 when it hired Arias. According to the appellate court, “[i]nstead of complying with federal law, the Angelos wielded it as a weapon to confine Arias in … Continue Reading

Piece-Work-Based Pay Plan Violates FLSA

Brunozzi v. Cable Commc’ns, Inc., 851 F.3d 990 (9th Cir. 2017) Matteo Brunozzi and Casey McCormick worked as technicians for CCI installing cable television and internet services. They alleged that CCI’s compensation plan violates the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) because the “production bonus” paid by CCI is designed to decrease … Continue Reading

Auto Dealership Service Advisors Are Not Exempt From Federal Overtime Requirements

Navarro v. Encino Motorcars, LLC, 845 F.3d 925 (9th Cir. 2017) An amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) exempts from its overtime requirements “any salesman, partsman, or mechanic primarily engaged in selling or servicing automobiles, trucks, or farm implements.”  The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) subsequently issued an opinion letter and amended its … Continue Reading

Employee’s Wrongful Termination Claim Was Properly Dismissed, But Other Claims Survive

Goonewardene v. ADP, LLC, 5 Cal. App. 5th 154 (2016) In her fifth amended complaint, Sharmalene Goonewardene alleged claims against her former employer (ADP) for wrongful termination, violation of the Labor Code, breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation and negligence. The trial court sustained ADP’s demurrer to the complaint without further leave to amend, and the … Continue Reading

Del Mar Fairgrounds/Horsepark Employees Are Exempt From Overtime Under The Amusement Exemption

Morales v. 22nd Dist. Agricultural Ass’n, 1 Cal. App. 5th 504 (2016) Jose Luis Morales and 177 other similarly situated plaintiffs sued their employer under Cal. Labor Code § 510 and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) for failure to pay them overtime. Plaintiffs’ employer is a California agency that owns and manages the … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Strikes Down Employer’s Class Action Waiver

Morris v. Ernst & Young, LLP, 2016 WL 4433080 (9th Cir. 2016) As a condition of employment, Stephen Morris and Kelly McDaniel were required to sign agreements not to join with other employees in bringing legal claims via arbitration against their employer. Morris and McDaniel filed a class and collective action against the company, alleging … Continue Reading

Auto Dealership Service Advisors May Be Exempt From Federal Overtime Requirements

Encino Motorcars, LLC v. Navarro, 579 U.S. ___, 2016 WL 3369424 (2016) An amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) exempts from its overtime requirements “any salesman, partsman, or mechanic primarily engaged in selling or servicing automobiles, trucks, or farm implements.” Later, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued an opinion letter and amended … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Affirms $2.9 Million Class Action Judgment Based On Expert’s Study Of Time Spent On Donning And Doffing Activities

Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo, 577 U.S. ___, 136 S. Ct. 1036 (2016) Following a jury trial, the employees in this class/collective action recovered $2.9 million in compensatory damages for violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The employees alleged that they did not receive statutorily mandated overtime pay for the time they spent … Continue Reading

Firefighters Are Not Entitled To Overtime For Time Spent Taking Gear To Temporary Duty Stations

Balestrieri v. Menlo Park Fire Prot. Dist., 800 F.3d 1094 (9th Cir. 2015) Firefighters and emergency medical personnel sued the Menlo Park Fire Protection District, claiming that two of the district’s policies violate the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). In their first claim, the employees claimed they were entitled to overtime for taking their gear … Continue Reading

Time Spent By Warehouse Workers In Security Screening Is Not Compensable Under Fair Labor Standards Act

Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk, 574 U.S. ___, 2014 WL 6885951 (2014) The employer in this case, Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc., provides staffing to Amazon.com throughout the United States. Plaintiffs Jesse Busk and Laurie Castro worked as hourly employees retrieving and packaging products at Integrity Staffing warehouses in Nevada. Integrity Staffing required its employees … Continue Reading

LAPD Officer Properly Prevailed In FLSA Anti-Retaliation Claim

Avila v. Los Angeles Police Dep’t, 2014 WL 3361123 (9th Cir. 2014) Leonard Avila, a police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department, periodically worked through his lunch breaks and did not claim overtime.  After Avila testified in a lawsuit brought by another officer who sought overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Avila … Continue Reading

California Courts May No Longer Be Able to Certify a Ham Sandwich

Commentators have quipped that class certification is so easy in California that with little effort a group of plaintiffs could certify even a ham sandwich.  In fact, as we have discussed here, we have seen a proliferation of recent appellate decisions hinging class certification on the mere existence of an employer’s uniform policy – no … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Reaffirms Enforceability of Arbitration Agreements Containing Collective Action Waivers In Two FLSA Cases

Two recent decisions from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit have reaffirmed the enforceability of employment-related arbitration agreements containing class action waivers. In Sutherland v. Ernst & Young and Raniere v. Citigroup, Inc. the Second Circuit held that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) requires courts to enforce a valid agreement to arbitrate … Continue Reading

Reporters’ Class Action For Unpaid Overtime Should Not Have Been Certified

Wang v. Chinese Daily News, 2013 WL 781715 (9th Cir. 2013) 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 … Continue Reading

Claim For Unpaid Vacation Benefits Was Properly Dismissed

Bell v. H.F. Cox, Inc., 2012 WL 3846827 (Cal. Ct. App. 2012) Oscar Bell and other truck drivers filed a putative class action against Cox, alleging wage and hour violations. Among other things, the drivers alleged that Cox had failed to pay promised vacation benefits to current employees (it paid them a flat rate of … Continue Reading

California Law Should Have Been Applied To Determine If Drivers Were Employees Or Independent Contractors

Ruiz v. Affinity Logistics Corp., 667 F.3d 1318 (9th Cir. 2012) Fernando Ruiz and similarly situated drivers filed a class action against Affinity alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and California law for failure to pay overtime, failure to pay wages, improper charges for workers’ compensation insurance and unfair business practices. To work … Continue Reading

California Overtime Requirements Apply To Work Performed By Non-Resident Employees

Sullivan v. Oracle Corp., 662 F.3d 1265 (2011) Three Oracle instructors (all non-residents of California) filed this class action to recover allegedly unpaid overtime under California law for work they performed while in California. Two of the instructors were residents of Colorado and one was a resident of Arizona; all of them worked in their … Continue Reading

Social Workers May Not Be “Learned Professionals” Who Are Exempt From The FLSA

Solis v. State of Washington, 656 F.3d 1079 (9th Cir. 2011) The U.S. Secretary of Labor filed a complaint against the State of Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services (“DSHS”), alleging a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (“FLSA”) based upon the DSHS’s classification of its social workers as “learned professionals” … Continue Reading

Offer of Judgment for Full Amount of Class Rep’s Claim Did Not Moot Class Action

Pitts v. Terrible Herbst, Inc., 653 F.3d 1081 (2011) Gareth Pitts filed a class action against his employer, Terrible Herbst, Inc., alleging a collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act for failure to pay overtime and minimum wages, a class action for violations of Nevada labor laws and a class action for breach of … Continue Reading
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