Following the California Supreme Court’s remand of Naranjo v. Spectrum Security Services, Inc., the California Court of Appeal in that same case held that the defendant-employer had not committed “knowing and intentional” violations of the wage statement statute by not including meal period premiums on the wage statements and had not “willfully” paid all wages due at the end of employment by not previously paying meal period premiums that were owed. The Court held that, although the employer did not prevail on its defense that employees in a certified class action were subject to valid on-duty meal period agreements, neither waiting time penalties (capped at 30 days’ of wages at the daily rate of pay for each former employee) nor wage statement penalties (capped at $4,000 per employee) could be imposed against the employer given the good faith dispute that any meal period premiums were owed.
Our colleague Michael S. Kun at Epstein Becker Green was recently quoted in SHRM, in “Distinctions Among Class, Collective and Representative Actions Make a Difference,” by Allen Smith.
Following is an excerpt:
The terms “class,” “collective” and “representative” actions sometimes are bandied about as though they were the same thing, but they have distinct meanings that employers benefit from understanding. This article, the second in a series, examines the differences among these types of lawsuits and practical ramifications, such as how an employer might seek early resolution, as well as how certification of a class or collective action affects whether an employer’s attorney may speak with plaintiffs.
Following is an excerpt:
Frequently involving wage and hour issues, class actions against employers can result in lengthy litigation, but early response to them may reduce damages. This article, the first in a two-part series on class actions, examines strategies for responding to such actions, including how to interact with current employees who are seeking information on a lawsuit. The second part explains the differences among class, collective and representative actions. …
Silence can be telling.
That is especially so in the legal industry.
In the context of a hearing or oral argument, if judges or justices don’t ask an attorney a question, it can be incredibly encouraging – or incredibly discouraging. It often means that the judges or justices have already made up their minds after having read the parties’ briefs and simply don’t have any questions or don’t need to hear anything more.
Employers grappling with the many questions related to bringing employees back into the workplace safely in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic should pay close attention to the potential wage-and-hour risks attendant to doing so—including whether to pay employees for time spent waiting in line for a temperature check, verifying vaccination status, or completing other health screening inquiries.
Given the growing trend of COVID-19 lawsuits, ignoring these risks could leave employers vulnerable to costly class and collective action litigation.
What the Law Requires
In this installment of Epstein Becker Green’s “Class Action Avoidance” webinar series, attorney Michael S. Kun addresses potential wage and hour class actions related to expense reimbursement for employees working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many employers may have employees working from home for the first time—or at least have employees in certain job categories doing so for the first time. Even employees who sometimes worked from home previously may be doing so for much more time now and, arguably, incurring greater expenses as a result.
This webinar will ...
In this installment of Epstein Becker Green’s “Class Action Avoidance” webinar series, attorney Jeffrey H. Ruzal discusses wage and hour issues that could result from “work from home” policies and practices on account of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
As fall approaches, businesses are deciding whether to fully reopen, maintain a largely remote workplace, or provide employees with the option of working in the workplace or at home through a hybrid approach. Recent reports and surveys have shown that many remote workers throughout the United States have been, on ...
Given the ever-increasing number of wage-hour class and collective actions being filed against employers, it is no surprise that many employers have turned to arbitration agreements with class and collective action waivers as a first line of defense, particularly after the United States Supreme Court’s landmark 2018 Epic Systems v. Lewis decision.
If there is a common misconception about Epic Systems, however, it is that the Supreme Court concluded that all arbitration agreements with all employees are enforceable under all circumstances. The Court reached no such ...
Let me be the millionth person to say that we are living in unprecedented times.
Well, unless you count the Spanish Flu, which few of us probably dealt with as that was more than a century ago.
And, not incidentally, few if any of the wage-hour laws employers deal with today were in place back then.
As employers navigate issues that they never imagined, there are more than a few myths circulating about wage-hour laws that are worth mentioning here – and worth debunking.
Myth No. 1: “Employees Won’t Sue Over Alleged Wage-Hour Violations Occurring During The COVID-19 Crisis”
Employers in California have been inundated with wage-hour class actions for the past two decades. And, time and again, they have had to deal with employee-friendly decisions from the California Supreme Court.
Leave it to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal to step in and put an end to a proposed class action, finding that there were no “real-world consequences” from wage statements that had an error in the employer’s name.
In Lerna Mays v. Walmart Stores, Inc., the plaintiff brought suit under California Labor Code section 226 after receiving her final pay stub, which listed her ...
A number of years ago – 20 perhaps – someone shared with me a study that was conducted by a major university where participants were asked which professions they most distrust.
My recollection is that it was conducted at Duke University, but I could be wrong. (I do remember distinctly that there were 998 participants in the survey, which still seems like a peculiar number to me. They couldn’t find two more people?)
In any event, one spot from the top of the list of most distrusted professions (or the bottom, depending on your perspective) was used car salespersons. Yes, I know, a ...
The U. S. Supreme Court established limitations on personal jurisdiction over non-resident corporate defendants in state court “mass” actions in Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California, San Francisco Cty., 137 S. Ct 1773 (June 17, 2017) (hereafter “BMS”). BMS’s key holding was that the necessary nexus between an appropriate court for a mass action and a corporate defendant required more than just the company’s connections in the state and the alleged similarity of claims by resident plaintiffs and non-resident plaintiffs. The practical effect is ...
More than 7 months after hearing oral argument on an issue that will affect countless employers across the country – whether employers may implement arbitration agreements with class action waivers -- the United States Supreme Court has issued what is bound to be considered a landmark decision in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis (a companion case to National Labor Relations Board v. Murphy Oil USA and Ernst & Young LLP v. Morris), approving the use of such agreements.
The decision will certainly have a tremendous impact upon pending wage-hour class and collective actions, many of which ...
In a case of first impression that may have a significant impact upon wage-hour class actions in California, the California Court of Appeal has held that “joint employers” are not vicariously liable for each other’s alleged meal period violations.
In reaching this conclusion, the Court of Appeal affirmed an award of summary judgment in favor of a temporary staffing company in a class action where the plaintiffs sought to hold the staffing company liable for alleged meal period violations they alleged they suffered while working for its client.
The decision provides something ...
A year ago, employers across the country prepared for the implementation of a new overtime rule that would dramatically increase the salary threshold for white-collar exemptions, on the understanding that the new rule would soon go into effect “unless something dramatic happens,” a phrase we and others used repeatedly.
And, of course, something dramatic did happen—a preliminary injunction, followed by a lengthy appeal, which itself took more left turns following the U.S. presidential election than a driver in a NASCAR race. The effect was to put employers in a constant ...
By Michael Kun
“Hybrid” wage-hour class actions are by no means a new concept.
In a “hybrid” class action, the named plaintiff files suit seeking to represent classes under both the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and state wage-hour laws. As the potential recovery and limitations periods for these claims are often very different, so, too, are the mechanisms used for each.
In FLSA claims, where classes can be “conditionally certified” if a plaintiff satisfies a relatively low burden of establishing that class members are “similarly situated” – a ...
Following up on the California Supreme Court’s recent decision in See’s Candy v. Superior Court, a California federal court has now dismissed a time-rounding class action against H.J. Heinz Company. And, once again, the court has relied upon the decision in our case Alonzo v. Maximus
This, of course, is more good news for employers with operations in California. Between See’s Candy and Maximus, it will be exceedingly hard for plaintiffs to proceed with time-rounding class actions against employers who have even-handed time-rounding policies ...
On September 19, 2012, several members of EBG’s Wage and Hour practice group will be presenting a briefing and webinar on FLSA compliance. In 2012, a record number of federal wage and hour lawsuits were filed under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), demonstrating that there is no end in sight to the number of class and collective actions filed against employers. Claims continue to be filed, raising issues of misclassification of employees, alleged uncompensated "work" performed off the clock, and miscalculation of overtime pay for non-exempt workers.
In this interactive ...
After five years of litigation, a Los Angeles Superior Court has denied class certification of a class action against Joe’s Crab Shack Restaurants on claims that it managers were misclassified as exempt and denied meal and rest periods in violation of California law. The court found that the plaintiffs had not established adequacy of class representatives, typicality, commonality or superiority, and emphasized a defendant’s due process right to provide individualized defenses to class members’ claims.
Because the case was handled by our ...
Plaintiffs seeking to bring state law wage-hour class actions against employers in the trucking industry have run into a significant road block in California. For the second time in a year, a United States District Court has held that claims based on California’s meal and rest period laws are preempted by federal law.
In Esquivel et al. v. Performance Food Group Inc., the plaintiffs claimed the defendant scheduled their delivery routes such that the plaintiffs were unable to take duty-free meal periods. The defendant argued that the Federal Aviation ...
For several years, employers’ counsel have moved to block the combining of state wage and overtime claims with federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) claims, arguing that Rule 23 opt-out class actions were inherently inconsistent with FLSA collective opt-in actions. For support, they cited to the decision of the Third Circuit in De Asencio vs. Tyson Foods, Inc., 342 F. 3d 301 (3rd Cir. 2003) reversing a district court’s exercise of supplemental jurisdiction because of the inordinate size of the state-law class, the different terms of proof ...
Since the Supreme Court’s historic ruling in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, attorneys have debated the scope and impact of the decision. Not surprisingly, plaintiffs’ counsel have argued that the decision was limited to its facts, or to discrimination cases, or to cases involving nationwide claims. And they have argued that Wal-Mart has no application whatsoever to wage-hour class actions and collective actions. In only a few words, the Supreme Court may have answered some of these questions.
Earlier this month, the United ...
By Michael Kun
The wage hour class action epidemic that has plagued California employers for the last decade or so appears to have no end.
If anyone tells you otherwise, they are not paying enough attention.
And if they tell you the California Supreme Court is about to put an end to the epidemic, they are mistaken about that, too.
The California Supreme Court couldn't put an end to it even if it wanted to, at least not with the issues now before it. And who is to say that they want to do that anyway?
As in recent years, employers and their counsel are awaiting several important rulings from the ...
- Epstein Becker Green’s Free Wage-Hour App Includes Updates on New 2024 Laws
- Wage War: Massachusetts Trial Court Rejects Globe Ex-President’s Profit-Sharing Claim Disguised as Wage Act Violation
- Time Is Money: A Quick Wage-Hour Tip on … Inclement Weather Pay Obligations
- New Independent Contractor Rule Facing Multiple Legal Challenges
- The Enforceability of Employees’ Electronic Signatures Is the Next Battleground for Arbitration Agreements With Class Action Waivers