California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: Overtime

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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

Appeals Court Clarifies Scope of Commissioned Salesperson Exemption

In a case possibly signaling a new direction in California wage and hour law, a California appellate court ruled Friday that a class of car dealers fell within the commissioned salesperson exemption to California overtime laws despite receiving flat fee commissions instead of commissions calculated as a percentage of the price of the cars sold.… Continue Reading

“Explicit Mutual Wage Doctrine” Barred Janitor’s Claim For Additional Unpaid Overtime

Arechiga v. Dolores Press, Inc., 192 Cal. App. 4th 567 (2011) Carlos Arechiga worked as a janitor for Dolores Press for almost seven years at which time his employment was terminated. Although Arechiga filed a complaint alleging various causes of action, only his claim for violation of the Unfair Competition Law went to trial. Arechiga, … Continue Reading

Offshore Oil Crews Were Not Entitled To 24 Hours Of Compensation During Each Work Day

Seymore v. Metson Marine, Inc., 194 Cal. App. 4th 361 (2011) Plaintiffs Andrew Seymore and Kenneth Blonden were employed by Metson Marine as crew members on Metson’s offshore oil spill recovery vessels. Crew members worked 14-day rotational hitches, alternating with 14-day rest periods and were paid to work a 12-hour daily shift during the two-week … Continue Reading

Claims Adjusters Were Properly Classified As Exempt Administrative Employees

Hodge v. Aon Ins. Servs., 192 Cal. App. 4th 1361 (2011) Plaintiffs in this case are claims adjusters employed by a third party administrator (Cambridge Integrated Services Group, Inc.). Depending on the entity with which it contracts and the terms of the contract, Cambridge adjusts general liability, vehicle-related and workers’ compensation claims. In their claim … Continue Reading

Payroll Company Was Not Joint Employer Of TV Commercial Production Company Employee

Futrell v. Payday Cal., Inc., 190 Cal.App.4th 1419 (2010) Payday provides payroll processing and related services for companies that produce television commercials. In this putative class action, the employees were “freelance crewmembers” whom Reactor Films retained to complete its production activities. John Futrell worked in a private police capacity, providing traffic and crowd control services … 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

Ministerial Exception Barred Seminarians’ Claims For Unpaid Overtime

Rosas v. Corporation of the Catholic Archbishop, 627 F.3d 1288 (2010) (en banc) 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 the case on the … 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

Employer’s Wage Statements Did Not Violate Labor Code

Morgan v. United Retail Inc., 186 Cal. App. 4th 1136 (2010) Amber Morgan filed this class action lawsuit against her former employer under Cal. Lab. Code § 226, alleging United Retail had violated the law because the wage statements issued by the employer listed the total number of regular hours and overtime hours separately and … 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

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

Trial Court Properly Denied Class Certification To Restaurant Managers

Arenas v. El Torito Restaurants, Inc., 183 Cal. App. 4th 723 (2010) The plaintiffs in this case are salaried managers at El Torito, El Torito Grill and Guadala Harry’s restaurants in California from May 2002 to the present. Plaintiffs alleged they were misclassified as employees exempt from overtime because they routinely spent more than half … Continue Reading

Medical Service Reps May Not Have Been Subject To The Motor Carrier Exemption From Overtime

Gomez v. Lincare, Inc., 173 Cal. App. 4th 508 (2009) Lincare provides respiratory services and medical equipment setup to patients in their homes. Plaintiffs were Lincare service representatives who drove vans containing liquid and compressed oxygen (defined by the federal government as “hazardous materials”) and worked on call in the evenings and on weekends. Plaintiffs … Continue Reading

Retroactive Overtime for Misclassified Salaried Employees: The DOL Supports the Fluctuating Workweek’s Half-Time Methodology

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (the “DOL”) Wage and Hour Division recently issued a Wage and Hour Opinion Letter, FLSA 2009-3, addressing how a company can compute overtime payments retroactively for salaried employees it had mistakenly classified as exempt (not overtime-eligible) under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA” or the “Act”). The DOL reiterated its … 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

Messengers Were Independent Contractors And Not Employees

Cristler v. Express Messenger Systems, Inc., 171 Cal. App. 4th 72 (2009) James Cristler and others sued Express Messenger, a parcel delivery service, for violations of California law based upon Express’ allegedly illegal classification of its workers as independent contractors and not employees. Among other things, plaintiffs alleged violations of the California overtime requirements, as … Continue Reading

Limousine Drivers’ Class Action Should Have Been Certified

Ghazaryan v. Diva Limousine, Ltd., 169 Cal. App. 4th 1524 (2009) Sarkis Ghazaryan filed this class action lawsuit alleging that Diva Limousine had failed to pay wages, overtime compensation, and to provide meal periods and rest breaks in violation of California law. Diva followed a policy of paying its drivers an hourly rate of pay … Continue Reading

Postal Inspectors May Be Entitled To Overtime Pay Under The Fair Labor Standards Act

Nigg v. United States Postal Serv., 555 F.3d 781 (2009) Robert Nigg, a postal inspector currently employed by the United States Postal Service (“USPS”), and Keith Lewis, a retired postal inspector, sued the USPS alleging postal inspectors are entitled to overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The district court granted summary judgment … Continue Reading

Employee’s Overtime Claims Were Barred By Settlement Agreement

Larner v. Los Angeles Doctors Hosp. Associates, LP, 168 Cal. App. 4th 1291 (2008) Josephine Larner, a nurse, sued her former employer, a hospital, for allegedly unpaid overtime. Larner brought the action on behalf of herself and all current and former nonexempt workers employed by defendants who failed to receive required premium overtime wages for … 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

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

Sullivan v. Oracle Corp., 547 F.3d 1177 (9th Cir. 2008) 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 … Continue Reading
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