California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: FLSA

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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

California Overtime Rules Apply To Out-of-State Residents Who Work In The State

Sullivan v. Oracle Corp., 51 Cal. 4th 1191 (2011) In this case, the California Supreme Court answered three questions certified to it by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit as follows: (1) California’s overtime law applies to work performed in California for a California employer by nonresident workers; (2) the Unfair … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Extends California’s Overtime Laws To Non-Resident Employees

In Sullivan v. Oracle, No. S170577 (Cal. June 30, 2011), the California Supreme Court today resolved three important questions posed by the federal Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit regarding California law: (1) Does the California Labor Code apply to overtime work performed in California for a California-based employer by out-of-state plaintiffs, such that … Continue Reading

New Government-Created SmartPhone “App” Now Available For Use As “iEvidence” To Assist Employees In Wage Disputes

As the federal government wades deeper into the realm of mobile "apps" (among the most useful, of course, the Smithsonian Institution’s “MEanderthal” app, which enables users to morph personal photos into prehistoric images of themselves), various U.S. agencies are promoting new apps that allow the public to access official information from “the palm of [one’s] … Continue Reading

Employee Who Complained Orally About FLSA Violation Is Protected From Retaliation

Kasten v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., 563 U.S. ___, 131 S. Ct. 1325 (2011) Kevin Kasten alleged that his former employer, Saint-Gobain, terminated his employment because he orally complained to Saint-Gobain about the location of its time clocks, which prevented workers from receiving credit for the time they spent putting on and taking off their … 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

Rehabilitated Drug Addict’s Disability Claims Were Properly Dismissed

Lopez v. Pacific Maritime Ass’n, 636 F.3d 1197 (2011) When Santiago Lopez first applied to be a longshoreman in 1997, his application was rejected because he tested positive for marijuana. The PMA, which represents the shipping lines, stevedore companies and terminal operators that run the ports along the west coast, follows a “one-strike rule,” which … Continue Reading

Employer Did Not Violate FLSA By Changing Pay Rates For Nurses Working Alternative Workweeks

Parth v. Pomona Valley Hosp., 2010 WL 5064380 (9th Cir. 2010) The Fair Labor Standards Act required Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center (“PVHMC”) to pay its employees 1-1/2 times the employees’ regular rate for any employment in excess of eight hours in any workday and in excess of 80 hours in a 14-day period. However, … 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

Class Action Should Have Been Certified As To Claims For Overtime, But Not Meal And Rest Periods

Faulkinbury v. Boyd & Assocs., Inc., 185 Cal. App. 4th 1363 (2010) Plaintiffs sought to represent and certify a class of 4,000 current and former employees of Boyd & Associates, which provides security guard services throughout Southern California. Plaintiffs alleged that Boyd denied the putative class members off-duty meal periods and rest breaks and that … Continue Reading

Three Wage & Hour Questions Certified To The California Supreme Court

Sullivan v. Oracle Corp., 557 F.3d 979 (9th Cir. 2009) The Ninth Circuit has withdrawn its published opinion in this case and certified the following questions to the California Supreme Court: (1) Does the California Labor Code apply to overtime work performed in California for a California-based employer by out-of-state plaintiffs in the circumstances of … Continue Reading

Employer Improperly Failed To Pay Employees For Time Spent “Donning and Doffing” Uniforms

Ballaris v. Wacker Siltronic Corp., 370 F.3d 901 (9th Cir. 2004) Plaintiff-employees worked in Wacker’s cleanrooms where silicon wafers were manufactured. All employees who work in the cleanrooms must wear gowns to help maintain the clean environment. Ballaris alleged in this FLSA class-action lawsuit that Wacker had a policy or practice of failing to pay … Continue Reading
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