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Are You Exposed to a Potential Wage and Hour Class Action?

Each year, companies collectively pay out more than $1 billion to resolve wage and hour litigation claims. How does a California employer protect itself?

Wage and hour class actions are the source of constant legal scrutiny. In what was a presumed victory for the employer, a 2014 California Supreme Court decision clarified the rules for trying wage and hour class actions, declaring that a “trial must allow for the litigation of affirmative defenses, even in a class action case where the defense touches upon individual issues.” It seemed that based on this decision, trial courts would be required to conduct a more thorough analysis of the practical means by which individual defenses to class action claims could be resolved at the time of class certification.

However, recent activity seems to indicate that what many hoped would mean less strain on employers and greater opportunity for human resources departments to work hand-in-hand with outside counsel to attack wage and hour cases at the class certification stage may not be the reality. Indeed, a California judge agreed to grant certification to a class of more than 950 factory workers that allege improper wage and hour 1427251848_vector_65_16-128practices at a local paper and packaging giant. The workers contend that their employer failed to provide meal breaks and rest breaks, and failed to pay minimum wage and overtime amongst other practices in violation of the California Labor Code and Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders.

Is Your Company At Risk For A Wage & Hour Class Action?

Is your company at risk for a wage and hour class action? Employees argue that the issue is simple and the law is clear: a non-exempt employee must be paid time-and-a-half for all hours worked over eight hours in any workday and over 40 hours in a workweek. But what is not always clear is who is exempt and who is not.

Exempt employees can include:

–       Executives / Managers

–       Administrators

–       Computer Professionals

–       Salespeople

–       Artists

Of course, the analysis of whether said employee is exempt or not does not end there. To best determine the status of your employees, speak with an experienced business lawyer at Hart, Watters & Carter today.