On November 18, the California Supreme Court in Pineda v. Bank of America, No. S170758 (Cal. Nov. 18, 2010) (pdf) clarified two issues regarding so-called “waiting time penalties” (i.e., penalties under California Labor Code Section 203 associated with the late payment of final wages upon termination of employment). First, the Court ruled that a three-year statute of limitations applies to such actions, whether or not accompanied by a claim for the underlying late wages. Second, it held that waiting time penalties are not recoverable as restitution under California’s unfair competition law, Business and Professions Code Section 17200 (the “UCL”). While the latter ruling is marginally beneficial to employers by limiting liability under the UCL, the Court’s finding of a three-year statute of limitations for waiting time penalties dramatically expands potential employer liability.
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 did not provide the sum of the regular and overtime hours as a separate line item. During her deposition, Morgan testified she was injured by United Retail’s failure to include an additional line item showing the sum of hours worked because “[i]t makes it a little difficult to count how many hours I have been working.”