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Wage and Hour

 

  • Pre-litigation action by a non-exempt electrical engineer alleging that his former employer, a medical device company, retaliated against him under Labor Code section 1102.5, failed to provide him with meal and rest breaks, did not itemize his wage statements, owed him premium pay and penalties, and wrongfully terminated him in violation of public policy. The engineer, who provided regional support to hospital clients throughout Texas and the southwest, had complained about his employer giving unpaid upgrades and free equipment to clients in violation of federal medical kickback statutes. The employer claimed that it terminated the engineer because his productivity had fallen below company targets before he lodged his complaints. In addition, the employer defended that, because the engineer lived and worked exclusively in Texas, he would be barred from bringing any action in California. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by a 59-year-old restaurant director alleging that his former employer, a golf course, misclassified him, discriminated against him on the basis of his age, and wrongfully terminated him in violation of public policy. The employer, new owners of the golf course, claimed that due to a statutory increase in the minimum wage, the director’s base salary had inadvertently slipped from exempt to non-exempt status for six months out of his 17-year tenure. The employer remedied the situation with catch-up pay permitted under the FLSA. However, when the employer received complaints that the director had made comments that other employees perceived as offensive on the basis of race and sex, and that he had served alcohol to a minor staff member, the employer investigated the allegations and terminated the director for cause. The director claimed he was terminated because of age discrimination. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • PAGA action by a care manager alleging that her former employer, a children’s services and foster care non-profit organization, engaged in wage-and-hour violations, including failure to pay for overtime, minimum wages, meal periods, meal period premiums, final wages and timely wages, issue compliant wage statements and accurate payroll records, and reimburse for business expenses. At the mediation, the care manager also alleged additional CFRA and FEHA claims for the individual plaintiff outside of the PAGA action. The employer denied all these allegations. Resolved globally by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Pre-litigation action by a packer alleging that her former employer, a meat packing company,  violated the FEHA by discriminating against her on the basis of gender when only male employees were recognized on their first-year work anniversaries, failed to engage with her in the interactive process and reasonably accommodate her request to visit her mother in the hospital, constructively terminated her in violation of public policy, and violated various wage-and-hour laws. The company denied these claims, alleging instead that the packer did not request for any recognition or reasonable accommodation, was fully compensated for overtime, was given first meal breaks, signed waivers for second meal breaks, and voluntarily resigned. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Class action by current and former nonexempt workers alleging that their employer, a commercial and industrial insulation business, engaged in wage-and-hour violations, including failure to pay for overtime, minimum wages, meal periods, meal period premiums, final wages and timely wages; failure to maintain compliant wage statements and accurate payroll records, reimburse business expenses; and engagement in unfair business practices. Employer denied these claims and moved to compel arbitration under the collective bargaining agreements (CBA). The trial court held the CBA did not clearly waive the judicial forum and the arbitration provisions were unconscionable. Defendant appealed. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Two class actions by current and former nonexempt workers alleging that their employer, a retail service agency, engaged in wage-and-hour violations, including failure to pay for overtime, minimum wages, meal periods, meal period premiums, final wages and timely wages; failure to maintain compliant wage statements and accurate payroll records, reimburse business expenses; and engaged in unfair business practices. Employer denied these allegations, claiming that it had complied with all wage-and-hour statutes. Resolved globally by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by a construction worker alleging that his former employer, a general contractor, violated the FEHA’s disability discrimination and harassment provisions, retaliated against him, failed to engage in the interactive process, failed to reasonably accommodate him, failed to provide him with CFRA leave, retaliated against him for requesting CFRA leave, retaliated against him for being a whistleblower, negligently hired, supervised and retained his supervisor, and wrongfully terminated him in violation of public policy. He also alleged the employer violated wage-and-hour laws including meal and rest breaks, minimum wage, final wages, wage statements, waiting time, and business reimbursements. The general contractor alleged that it was not an employer under the FEHA because it had fewer than five employees, that the worker had never complained about having a disability, and that any wage-and-hour violations were technical. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by delivery drivers alleging that their prior employer, two flower shops, failed to pay them minimum wage, provide them with meal periods or rest breaks, payment of final wages, and reimburse them for business expenses, and that employer retaliated against them for complaining and wrongfully terminated them in violation of public policy. The employer alleged that the drivers were independent contractors paid above the minimum wage, that they were responsible for their own time and business expenses, that they were not retaliated against, and that they resigned of their own accord. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Class and PAGA action by all current and former hourly-paid, nonexempt employees alleging that their former employer, a chain of franchise restaurants, engaged in wage-and-hour violations, including failure to pay overtime, meal and rest breaks, waiting time, and wages due, provide accurate itemized wage statements and reimbursement for expenses, and engaged in unfair business practices. Employer alleged that it had complied with wage-and-hour provisions the vast majority of the time, that a plurality of employees entered into arbitration agreements and meal break waivers, and that the restaurants’ liabilities exceed their assets. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Class and PAGA action by all current and former hourly-paid, nonexempt employees alleging that their former employer, a chain of restaurants, engaged in wage-and-hour violations, including failure to pay them overtime, minimum wage, meal and rest periods, waiting time, and wages due upon termination, provide them with accurate itemized wage statements and reimbursement for expenses, and engaged in unfair business practices. Employer did not respond to these charges, alleging instead that the restaurant continues to be unprofitable post-pandemic, and that its liabilities far exceed its assets. Resolved on follow up by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by regional sales manager alleging that his former employer, a medical products company, retaliated against him in violation of Labor Code section 1102.5, breached his employment contract, breached the duty of good faith and fair dealing, violated various wage and hour laws, owed him unpaid commissions, engaged in unfair business practices, and wrongfully terminated him. Employer alleged manager was exempt, such that the wage and hour laws did not apply to him. Employer also claimed it was forced to terminate manager, because he had threatened to sabotage one of the business’ accounts. Resolved following mediation.

 

  • Class action by current and former nonexempt workers alleging that their employer, a property management company, engaged in wage-and-hour violations, including failure to pay for overtime, minimum wages, meal periods, meal period premiums, final wages and timely wages; failed to maintain compliant wage statements and accurate payroll records, reimburse business expenses; and engaged in unfair business practices. Employer denied these claims and alleged the vast majority of potential class members had agreed to arbitrate such disputes. Resolved by mediator’s proposal. 

 

  • Action by waiters and bus boy alleging that their former employer, a restaurant for whom they worked for 10-15 years, engaged in misappropriation and conversion of their tips, required them to share tips with managers, failed to pay split-shift wages, demanded that they reimburse the employer for food losses, did not provide itemized reports of gratuities and split-shift wages, neglected to pay wait-time penalties, and contravened unfair competition laws. Employer denied the allegations, but admitted to not having paid split-shift wages for several months. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Class and PAGA action by seasonal workers alleging that their former employers, a floral farm and a farm labor contractor, engaged in wage-and-hour violations, including failure to pay them overtime, minimum wage, meal and rest periods, waiting time, and wages due upon termination, provide them with accurate itemized wage statements and reimbursement for expenses, and engaged in unfair business practices. Employers denied these charges, alleging that workers had been fully compensated. Resolved following mediation.

 

  • Class and PAGA action by parking attendants, valets, and cashiers alleging that their employer, a chain of parking garages, failed to provide them with meal/rest breaks, rounded their meal periods when they were short or late, failed to staff locations with relief attendants, owed them unpaid wages and premium pay, and failed to provide them with accurate itemized wage statements. Employer alleged that employees were instructed to take meal and rest breaks, and that it provided relief attendants in many locations where employees worked alone. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by sales manager alleging his former employer, a logistics company, misclassified him, failed to pay him overtime and vacation wages, owed him waiting time penalties, did not provide him with accurate wage statements, terminated him in violation of public policy, and breach his employment contract.  Employer alleged termination was justified, because sales manager had failed to meet his sales target and internal deadlines, neglected to attend an arranged customer meeting in another state, and lied to employer that the customer had cancelled the meeting.  Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by facilities supervisor alleging that his former employer, an electronics manufacturer, misclassified him as an exempt employee, failed to pay him overtime, provide meal/rest breaks and wages due upon separation, failed to provide him with accurate itemized wage statements, and engaged in unfair business practices.  Employer alleged that facilities supervisor was properly classified as exempt, and that wage-and-hour laws did not apply.  Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by 11-year forklift operator alleging that her former employer, a logistics company, engaged in FEHA disability discrimination, harassment and retaliation, failed to engage in the interactive process and reasonable accommodation, committed various wage-and-hour violations, engaged in unfair competition, and wrongfully terminated her.  Employer alleged that the company had engaged in the interactive process and reasonably accommodated employee multiple times in accordance with her doctor’s notes, and that she took meal and rest breaks as documented on time sheets. Company further alleged that it was employee’s numerous attendance issues that led to her termination.  Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Class and PAGA action by store managers alleging that their employer, a chain of drug stores, misclassified them as exempt employees, failed to pay them overtime, meal and rest periods and wages due upon separation, failed to provide them with accurate itemized wage statements, and engaged in unfair business practices. Employer alleged that store managers were properly classified as exempt employees, that wage-and-hour laws did not apply, that they were subject to binding arbitration, and that their claims were time barred.  Resolved following mediation.

 

  • Action by short-term shipping employee alleging that his former employer, a package labeling company, engaged in various wage-and-hour violations, as well as FEHA violations by failing to prevent co-workers from harassing him as a “sissy” and crybaby,” retaliating against him for his disability after he hurt his back, failing to engage in the interactive process and provide reasonable accommodation, and engaged in unfair business practices.  Company alleged that employee, who worked there for less than two months, took meal and rest breaks as documented on time sheets, was fully and timely compensated, was provided the interactive process, and was reasonably accommodated for every request.  However, company alleged that employee failed to report any co-worker harassment and was terminated for consecutive days of no call/no show.  Resolved by mediator’s proposal. 

 

  • Action by a janitor alleging that his former employer, a restaurant, engaged in various wage-and hour violations, as well as discriminated and retaliated against him for his disability after he hurt his knee, failed to engage in the interactive process, failed to reasonably accommodate him, and engaged in unfair business practices. Restaurant alleged that janitor, who worked there for three weeks, took meal and rest breaks as documented on time sheets, took three days off after he allegedly hurt his knee, returned to work with a doctor’s note showing no restrictions, never asked for an accommodation, did not show up for work, then allegedly told a coworker he found another job and never returned to work.  Resolved in post-mediation negotiations.

 

  • Action by former 24-hour, live-in caregiver alleging her former employer, a home care facility for the elderly, failed to compensate her for overtime, failed to provide her with meal breaks, rest breaks and wage statements, and engaged in unfair business practices.  The home care facility alleged that plaintiff was not an employee subject to wage-and-hour regulation, but she was rather member of a limited liability company sharing business profits.  Resolved by mediator’s proposal

 

  • Action by actor alleging that the company and studio that retained him for a marketing campaign failed to pay him overtime wages, maintain business records, provide itemized wage statements, and pay all wages upon separation, and misclassified him as an independent contractor. Defendants company and studio alleged that plaintiff was performing a work-for-hire under a talent agency agreement, was properly retained an independent contractor in his own company, and had been fully paid for the contracted work performed.  In addition, Defendant studio counter claimed alleging that plaintiff engaged in breach of contract and breach of duty of confidence on proprietary material.  Resolved following mediation.

 

  • Action by model alleging that her former employers, two connected fashion and accessories retailers, failed to immediately pay her as an employee at the conclusion of multiple photography shoots, and that she was thereby owed penalty payments under Labor Code section 203.  Retailers alleged that model was an independent contractor under Labor Code section 2750.3, that she had been fully paid under the terms of the agreement between retailers and model’s talent agency, and that no penalties were owed. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by truck driver alleging that his former employer, a trucking company, failed to pay him meal and rest periods and wages due upon termination, failed to provide him with accurate itemized wage statements, engaged in unfair business practices, and wrongfully terminated him for complaining. Employer denied these charges, alleged that driver was terminated for cause, because he failed to appear for work and follow company protocols to provide at least 4 hours' notice before any pending absence. Employer also alleged the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules preempt California’s meal and rest break rules.  Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by truck driver alleging that his former employer, a building supply business, failed to pay him overtime, minimum wage, meal and rest periods, and wages due upon termination, failed to provide him with accurate itemized wage statements and reimburse him for expenses, engaged in unfair business practices, and wrongfully terminated him for complaining. Employer denied these charges, alleged that plaintiff was in an exempt position not entitled to overtime pay or meal/rest breaks, and that he had voluntarily resigned.  Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Action by director of nursing alleging that her former employer, a licensed skilled nursing facility, engaged in race discrimination, wrongfully terminated her in violation of public policy, committed wage and hour violations by denying her meal/rest breaks, and payment of final wages and overtime, was negligent, intentionally inflicted emotional distress upon her, and engaged in unfair business practices. The employer alleged that plaintiff was discharged for permitting subordinates excessive overtime, and that she was in an exempt position not entitled to overtime pay or meal/rest breaks.  Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Class action by production employees alleging their employer, a corrugated container manufacturer, failed to pay timely wages, minimum wage and overtime, did not provide meal and rest breaks, failed to provide adequate pay stubs, did not maintain payment records, failed to reimburse for business expenses, and committed unfair business practices.  Employer alleged it had complied with wage and hour requirements.  The court certified the class on one cause of action.  Meanwhile, another member of the class filed a separate class action on the same claims.  Resolved globally by mediator's proposal.

 

  • Action by former 24-hour, live-in caregiver alleging his former employer, a residential care facility for the elderly, failed to compensate him for overtime, double time and minimum wage, and committed other wage and hour violations.  Former employer alleged that plaintiff requested to live at its facility, was not required to work more than 8 hours a day or 40 hours per week, slept on the job, and failed to perform.  Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

  • Class action in federal court by individuals performing production work alleging the company that retained them had misclassified them as independent contractors, failed to pay timely wages, minimum wage and overtime, failed to provide adequate pay stubs, committed unfair business practices, and violated PAGA. The hiring company alleged the individuals were independent contractors and not employees. Following an initial settlement agreement between those parties subject to court approval, plaintiffs then added a defendant, the company that had originally contracted with the one that retained plaintiffs, alleging joint liability. The contracting company opposed the settlement, alleged it had no involvement in the alleged wrongdoing, and filed a cross-claim against the hiring company for indemnity, contribution, and declaratory relief. The court rejected a good faith settlement determination and struck plaintiff’s class action allegations, ordering the parties back to mediation. Meanwhile, plaintiffs filed another wage and hour class action against the contracting company in state court. Resolved globally by mediator's proposal.

  • Action by caregiver alleging her former employer, an octogenarian, who required a live-in caregiver at home, failed to pay her time-and-a-half overtime after she worked nine hours per day or 45 hours per week. Former employer alleged caregiver was not required to and did not perform any work when she slept at night, and should not be compensated for those hours. In addition, former employer alleged caregiver engaged in elder abuse. Resolved in mediation.

 

  • Appeal by former employer, a solar company, challenging an order denying its motion to compel arbitration of a wage-and-hour and Private Attorney General’s Act (PAGA) action brought by its former employee, an installation supervisor. The employer alleged the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) preempts PAGA. The employee alleged the FAA does not preempt PAGA. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

 

  • Class action by personal bankers alleging their employer, a national bank, committed wage and hour violations. The bank alleged it had fulfilled its duty to provide meal periods as a matter of law. Resolved by mediator’s proposal.

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