Polsinelli at Work | Labor & Employment Blog
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By: Brian Morris
In recent years, California courts have complicated the lives of employers that utilize commission and piece rate compensation systems (i.e., “activity-based compensation”). Federal and state courts have repeatedly found activity-based compensation plans to be unlawful under California law, even when they result in per-pay-period compensation that exceeds the minimum wage. Courts reasoned that these plans violate California law because they do not separately compensate employees for each hour worked, such as time spent performing non-commission or non-piece-rate earning tasks (e.g., waiting for work, cleaning, attending meetings, etc.). See, e.g., Vaquero v. Stoneledge Furniture LLC, 9 Cal. App. 5th 98 (2017); Gonzalez v. Downtown LA Motors, LP, 215 Cal. App. 4th 36 (2013).Read More
Notwithstanding two previous California Supreme Court decisions which essentially held that “[u]nder the common law, corporate agents acting within the scope of their agency are not personally liable for the corporate employer’s failure to pay its employees’ wages,” Reynolds v. Bement (2005) 36 Cal.4th 1075, 1087, and Martinez v. Combs (2010) 49 Cal.4th 35, 66 (limiting liability for wage claims to the actual employer and not its agents), the California Court of Appeal just held that individual employees can be liable for civil penalties and attorneys’ fees for a company’s failure to pay overtime and/or minimum wages.Read More
On April 9, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision in Rizo v. Yovino, which held that salary history may not be used by an employer as a factor when defending gender disparities in initial wages, whether considered exclusively or in conjunction with other factors. The decision, which overruled a previous decision interpreting the Equal Pay Act, has caused some confusion and created a circuit split.Read More
On January 10, 2018, the Northern District of California certified a state-wide class of non-exempt hourly employees who allege that they were not fully compensated for all time spent submitting to their employer’s bag inspection requirements. (Heredia v. Eddie Bauer, LLC, January 10, 2018, Freeman, B.).Read More