California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: Overtime

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Lawful Shmawful: Ninth Circuit Ignores Lawful Written Policy and Uses Statistical Sampling to Certify Class Based on Alleged “Unofficial Policy”

On September 3, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld certification of a class of approximately 800 nonexempt insurance claims adjusters who claimed they worked overtime without compensation despite the employer’s lawful written policy to pay nonexempt employees for all hours worked. In Jimenez v. Allstate Ins. Co., the Ninth Circuit upheld … 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

Commission Wages Paid In One Pay Period May Not Be Attributed To Other Pay Periods In Order To Satisfy Minimum Wage Requirements

Peabody v. Time Warner Cable, Inc., 59 Cal. 4th 662 (2014) Susan Peabody worked as a commissioned salesperson for Time Warner Cable, Inc. (“TWC”).  Peabody regularly worked 45 hours per week but received no overtime.  TWC considered Peabody and the other members of the putative class to be subject to the commissioned employee exemption under California … Continue Reading

Summary Judgment Was Properly Granted In Favor Of Employer In Off-The-Clock Overtime Case

Jong v. Kaiser Found. Health Plan, Inc., 226 Cal. App. 4th 391 (2014) Henry Jong, who worked as an hourly Outpatient Pharmacy Manager for Kaiser, claimed he was owed unpaid overtime that was earned from alleged “off-the-clock” hours that Kaiser either knew or should have known he had worked. Jong testified in his deposition that … Continue Reading

Class Action Plaintiffs Must Develop A Trial Plan That May Include Statistical Sampling

Duran v. U.S. Bank Nat’l Ass’n, 59 Cal. 4th 1 (2014) Plaintiffs in this case are loan officers for U.S. Bank (“USB”) who claim they were misclassified as exempt employees under the outside salesperson exemption. After certifying a class of 260 plaintiffs, the trial court devised a plan to determine the extent of USB’s liability … Continue Reading

March 2014 California Employment Law Notes

$150,000 Sexual Harassment Verdict And $680,000 Fee Award Affirmed Taylor v. Nabors Drilling USA, LP, 222 Cal. App. 4th 1228 (2014) Max Taylor worked as a floorhand on an oil rig where he alleged he was harassed by his supervisors who called him “queer,” “fagot [sic],” “homo,” and “gay porn star” and was subjected to … Continue Reading

California Assembly Committee Rejects Flexible Workweek Bill

A bill that would have allowed California employers to offer employees a flexible workweek schedule has failed to pass the California Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment in a 5-2 party-line vote. The Committee rejected Assembly Bill 907 on the ground that the proposed law would “lead to employee intimidation and a breakdown of the … 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

U.S. Supreme Court Emphasizes Importance of Common Issues in Class Actions

Over the past two weeks, the United States Supreme Court has repeatedly underscored the importance of having common questions that are susceptible to common answers in cases where plaintiffs are seeking class certification. Most recently, the Court clarified that this requirement, which has now been considered in both antitrust and employment cases, applies with respect … Continue Reading

Insurance Claims Adjusters Are Not Exempt Administrative Employees

Harris v. Superior Court, 207 Cal. App. 4th 1225 (2012) Plaintiffs in this case are insurance claims adjusters who claim they were misclassified as exempt from overtime under the administrative exemption. The Court of Appeal held that because the adjusters’ primary work duties are the day-to-day tasks of adjusting individual claims and are not directly … Continue Reading

Court of Appeal Rejects “Trial by Formula,” Reverses Multimillion Dollar Verdict and Orders Class Decertified

Duran v. U.S. Bank Nat’l Ass’n, No. A125557, 2012 WL 366590 (Feb. 6, 2012) In a decision destined to have significant statewide ramifications, the California Court of Appeal for the First District reversed a trial court’s certification of a wage-hour class and determination of liability, concluding that the trial court had failed to follow “established … 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

Employer Was Deprived Of Due Process By Trial Court’s Erroneous Use Of Representative Sampling

Duran v. U.S. Bank Nat’l Ass’n, 203 Cal. App. 4th 212 (2012) U.S. Bank (“USB”) appealed a $15 million judgment that was entered against it following a bifurcated bench trial. The plaintiffs are 260 current and former business banking officers who claimed they were misclassified by USB as outside sales personnel exempt from overtime pay. … 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

Insurance Claims Adjusters May Be Exempt Administrative Employees

Harris v. Superior Court, 53 Cal.4th 170 (2011) Plaintiffs in this case are claims adjusters employed by two insurance companies. They filed four putative class actions, claiming they had been erroneously classified as exempt administrative employees and seeking damages based upon unpaid overtime. The court of appeal held as a matter of law that plaintiffs … 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

Prevailing Employer Should Have Been Permitted To Recover Its Costs from Employee

Plancich v. UPS, Inc., 198 Cal. App. 4th 308 (2011) Larry Plancich sued UPS for failure to pay overtime, meal and rest breaks; failure to keep, maintain and furnish accurate wage statements, and unfair competition, among other claims. The trial court ruled in favor of UPS on the unfair competition claim and a jury found … 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

Auto Sales Consultants’ Class Action Was Properly Dismissed

Areso v. CarMax, Inc., 195 Cal. App. 4th 996 (2011) Leena Areso, who worked as a commissioned sales consultant for CarMax, filed this class action lawsuit, asserting that she and the members of the putative class were owed unpaid overtime. Areso argued that CarMax’s uniform payment of approximately $150 per vehicle is piece-rate compensation rather … 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

Ninth Circuit Rules Unlicensed “Junior Accountants” May Be Exempt From Overtime

Campbell v. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, 2011 WL 2342740 (9th Cir. June 15, 2011) (pdf) The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed a lower court’s grant of partial summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff-junior accountants, noting that the district court’s holding would produce “significantly troubling results” and create “highly problematic precedent affecting several non-accounting … Continue Reading
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