Taming the Dangers of CA Labor Code on Wage and Hour Litigation
From missed meal breaks to misclassification of employees, California employers face a seemingly endless sea of wage and hour disputes.
Wage and hour disputes, which can be brought as individual, representative or putative class actions, can involve a significant amount of financial exposure, especially with the California Labor Code’s numerous penalty provisions.
For example, California’s attorney general is seeking $4.3 million from a construction firm accused of misclassifying employees. In a prior recent action, the AG’s office won a $13 million judgment when a court ruled that two companies had misclassified 300 janitors, cheated the state out of payroll taxes and did not pay minimum wage and overtime.
Experienced in Managing the Uncertainty of CA Wage and Hour Law
The uncertainty that wage and hour issues pose for California employers shapes the counsel CDF provides on the state’s complex wage and hour laws. Using informative and preemptive techniques, we defend regional and national employers against claims for alleged violations of the California Labor Code, California Wage Orders, and other wage and hour laws.
CDF is one of the few firms to have actually tried five wage and hour class actions, and our litigation experience in traditional and emerging areas of wage and hour disputes, across many industries, includes:
- Class Action Defense - Wage and Hour
- Employee/Independent Contractor Classification Issues
- Private Attorney General Act/PAGA Lawsuits
- Unfair Competition – 17200 Claims
- Wage and Hour Audits
A Preventive and Assertive Approach to Wage and Hour Litigation
Avoiding potential wage and hour disputes is central to CDF’s representation. CDF attorneys regularly create and review employers’ policies and handbooks as they relate to wage and hour issues, as well as counsel employers on how to best implement those policies in the workplace to avoid lawsuits and liability in the first place.
However, wage and hour litigation cannot always be avoided and often is not insurable. This is where CDF positions its clients in the most strategic defensive mode possible.
In the process, we may conduct a thorough review and analysis of wage and hour policies and practices, along with assertive fact gathering. During class action litigation, this often entails interviewing putative class members/employee representatives and supervisors, both in English and in Spanish. When managing individual claims, we always consider how the resolution of the claim could have a broader impact, as it is not uncommon that other employees have the potential to bring similar claims or bring subsequent claims under the California PAGA statute.
As the case develops, CDF attorneys may be able to achieve a prompt settlement or decide to mount an aggressive opposition, depending on the surrounding circumstances and facts.
California’s reputation as a breeding ground for wage and hour litigation – the state is responsible for a disproportionably large share of settlements nationwide - seems set to continue. Strengthened by experience gained in federal and state courtrooms, ADR forums and administrative agencies across California, CDF attorneys form a statewide on-the-ground presence attuned to the unique wage and hour issues in each jurisdiction and the challenges these present to our clients’ businesses.