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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Aleman v. AirTouch Cellular: Supreme Court Grants Review on Attorney Fee Issue

The California Supreme Court last week granted review in Aleman v. AirTouch Cellular (blogged here) pending its decision in Kirby v. Immoos Fire Protection, Inc. (blogged here).

Aleman held (1) an employee could not recover “reporting time pay” for attending scheduled meetings at work when he worked at least half the scheduled time, even if the scheduled time was less than four hours; and (2) the employee could not recover split shift compensation when, on each occasion that he worked a split shift, he earned more than the minimum amount required by the wage order for the shift. It also held that the successful employer in that action could not recover its attorney fees.

The issues in Kirby are: 

  1. Does Labor Code section 1194 apply to a cause of action alleging meal and rest period violations (Lab. Code 226.7) or may attorney's fees be awarded under Labor Code section 218.5? 
  2. Is our analysis affected by whether the claims for meal and rest periods are brought alone or are accompanied by claims for minimum wage and overtime? 
The Court granted the employer's petition for review and denied the employee's. It's not hard to read between those lines, but that's always risky business when you're talking about the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court's page for Aleman is here and for the docket for Kirby is here.  The Kirby decision is due June 4, 2012.  

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