9th Circuit Court of Appeals Holds a State Law Opt-Out Class Claim Can Proceed Simultaneously with FLSA Opt-in Claim – Los Angeles Wage & Hour Claims Attorneys Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik

by Norman B. Blumenthal on September 5, 2013

AppleLinda Heyen was an assistant store manager at Safeway.  Classified as exempt from Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and California Labor Laws coverage, Heyen sued Safeway alleging the work she performed did not qualify as exempt tasks.  The trial court held that Safeway did improperly classify Heyen.  Safeway appealed, and the Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court holding.

Though Heyen performed both exempt and nonexempt tasks, she district and appellate courts found that she primarily engaged in duties which meet the test of nonexempt.  For example, though Heyen was required to run the front end of the store, while she did this exempt task she primarily engaged in nonexempt tasks, such as:

  1. Running a cash register;
  2. Instructing other employees;

The Court of Appeals then noted general principles from the Wage Order and the federal regulations which supported a finding that Heyen was an employee:

  1. When work of the same kind performed by a supervisor's nonexempt employees generally is “nonexempt,” even when that work is performed by the supervisor, . If such work takes up a large part of a supervisor's time, the supervisor likely is a “nonexempt” employee. (§§ 541.108(g), 541.111(b), 541.115(b).)
  2. When the regulations do not recognize “hybrid” activities, i.e., activities that have both “exempt” and “nonexempt” aspects, the regulations require that each discrete task be separately classified as either “exempt” or “nonexempt.” (§§ 541.102(a), 541.108(a)-(g).)
  3. Identical tasks may be “exempt” or “nonexempt” based on the purpose they serve within the organization or department. (§ 541.108(a).)

If your employer classifies you as exempt when you primarily perform nonexempt tasks, call an experienced Los Angeles labor attorney today at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik at (310) 981-3918.  Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik is a California employment law firm with offices located in San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The firm dedicates its practice to contingency fee employment law work for issues involving misclassification as a salaried worker exempt from overtime, failure to pay vacation wages, misclassification as an independent contractor, off-the-clock work, wrongful termination, discrimination and other California labor laws.

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