California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: Minimum Wage

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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

California Statute Targeting Three Specific Employers Opposed By A Union May Violate Equal Protection

Fowler Packing Co. v. Lanier, 2016 WL 7321371 (9th Cir. 2016) In 2015, the California legislature passed Assembly Bill 1513 in response to two state appellate court decisions that exposed employers to significant and unexpected minimum wage liability for piece-rate workers. The statute created a “safe harbor” that gave employers an affirmative defense against the … Continue Reading

Bond Required To Challenge Labor Commissioner Rulings

An employer seeking a writ of mandate contesting the Labor Commissioner’s ruling regarding the failure to pay minimum wage must post a bond with the Labor Commissioner in an amount equal to the unpaid wages assessed under the citation, excluding penalties. The bond must be issued in favor of the unpaid employee, and the proceeds … Continue Reading

Former Employee’s Manager Is Not Entitled To Prevailing-Party Attorney’s Fees

Ramos v. Garcia, 2016 WL 3537366 (Cal. Ct. App. 2016) Rogelio Ramos sued his former employers for unpaid overtime, minimum wages and other compensation and obtained some of the monetary recovery he requested. Ramos also sued Manuel Garcia (Ramos’s former manager) under the same theories and lost on the ground that Garcia was a co-employee … Continue Reading

California Raises Minimum Wage to $15 Per Hour and Increases Minimum Salary for Exempt Employees

On April 4, 2016, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 3, which will increase California’s minimum wage annually, reaching $15 per hour for employers with at least 26 employees by January 1, 2022.  This bill enacts the highest statewide minimum wage in the nation, on par with New York, which enacted a bill mandating a $15 … Continue Reading

California is at it Again! Chamber of Commerce Releases Its 2015 List of “Job Killer” Bills

The Chamber of Commerce has just released its preliminary list of “job killer” bills that have been proposed in the California Legislature. Don’t forget that California remains tied with Louisiana for the fourth highest rate of unemployment in the country at 6.7%. This year’s list identifies 16 proposed laws, including four new “Increased Labor Costs” … Continue Reading

Governor Brown Signs New Laws Affecting California Employers

Minimum Wage Increase Gov. Brown has signed into law a measure that will increase California’s minimum wage from $8.00 per hour to $9.00 per hour on July 1, 2014, and to $10.00 per hour on January 1, 2016. So, California employers must prepare for a 25% increase in the minimum wage over the next two … Continue Reading

California Chamber of Commerce Releases Its 2013 List of “Job Killer” Bills

The California Chamber of Commerce has just released its annual list of “job killer” bills that have been proposed in the California Legislature. This year’s list identifies 32 proposed laws, including six new “Costly Workplace Mandates.” Chamber President and CEO Allan Zaremberg cautioned against “increase[d] uncertainty for employers and investors and . . . higher … Continue Reading

Hourly Rates For Certain Computer Software Employees, Licensed Physicians Increase; San Francisco Minimum Wage Rises To $10.24 Per Hour In 2012

California Labor Code § 515.5 exempts computer software professionals from the overtime pay requirements imposed by Labor Code § 510, provided they meet certain requirements. To qualify as exempt, these professionals must perform the functions enumerated in the statute and receive a minimum hourly rate of pay. The California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement (“DLSE”) has announced … 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

Merchants Who Sold Employer’s Product Were Not Employers Themselves

Martinez v. Combs, 49 Cal. 4th 35 (2010) Plaintiffs are seasonal agricultural workers whom Munoz & Sons had employed during the 2000 strawberry season. The employees sued Munoz and two produce merchants (through whom Munoz sold strawberries) for alleged minimum wage violations. Following Munoz’s bankruptcy, plaintiffs contended that the produce merchants were joint employers along … Continue Reading

Trainee/Interns Of Non-Profit Organization Are Exempt From Minimum Wage Law

The California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement opined that an intensive educational and training program designed for young urban adults (18-24 years old) that places these individuals in internships with non-profit and for-profit businesses is exempt from the minimum wage law (interns receive a stipend but not a salary or wages). DLSE Opinion Letter (Apr. … Continue Reading

Ministerial Exception Barred Seminarians’ Claims For Unpaid Overtime

Rosas v. The Corporation of the Catholic Archbishop of Seattle, 598 F.3d 668 (9th Cir. 2010) Cesar Rosas and Jesus Alcazar were Catholic seminarians who sued the Corporation of the Catholic Archbishop for, among other things, failure to pay them overtime wages under Washington state law. Based on the ministerial exception, the district court dismissed … Continue Reading

Tip-Pooling Is Not Prohibited Under FLSA

Cumbie v. Woody Woo, Inc., 596 F.3d 577 (2010) Misty Cumbie worked as a waitress at the Vita Café (owned and operated by Woody Woo, Inc.). Woo required its servers to contribute their tips to a “tip pool” that was redistributed to all restaurant employees, including the kitchen staff (dishwashers and cooks). Cumbie filed this … Continue Reading

Mandatory Tip Pool Was Legal But Shift Managers Could Not Share In Tips

Grodensky v. Artichoke Joe’s Casino, 171 Cal. App. 4th 1399 (2009) Card dealer Harvey Grodensky filed a putative class action challenging a mandatory tip-pooling policy that Artichoke Joe’s Casino had implemented for its dealers. The trial court determined (and the Court of Appeal affirmed) that the casino had not violated the minimum wage law by … Continue Reading

Employee Was Not Entitled To Punitive Damages For Labor Code Violations

Brewer v. Premier Golf Properties, LP, 168 Cal. App. 4th 1243 (2008) Christine Brewer, a waitress who had been employed at the Cottonwood Golf Club, quit her job and filed a complaint seeking damages for various alleged violations of the California Labor Code. After a jury trial, Brewer was awarded less than $1,000 for unpaid … Continue Reading
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