California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: Minimum Wage

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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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