Partial Summary Judgment Reversed in Wage and Hour Class Action

Last week the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling in a major wage-and-hour class action which could impact many employee – litigants. The court reversed the trial court’s issuance of what is called partial summary judgment in a major wage-and-hour case. As experienced wage-and-hour lawyers, we want to keep our readers informed about the latest developments in the law regarding employee rights to pay.

In a case called Campbell v. PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP (PwC), which can be found on the court’s website, two thousand unlicensed junior accountants brought a wage-and-hour class action against their employer, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC). The unlicensed accountants contended that PwC had failed to comply with mandatory over-time pay requirements under California law and had not paid them for hours worked in this category.

The lower court issued a partial summary judgment finding that PwC could not exempt these accountants from the over-time pay requirements. Partial summary judgment and summary judgment is a procedure that enables the parties to “dispose” of issues before a case is tried and to streamline or decide the case. In this case, the partial summary judgment was in favor of the accountants.

PwC filed an appeal to the partial summary judgment and the Ninth Circuit had before it the following issue: whether or not “unlicensed accountants in California are categorically ineligible, as a matter of law, to fall under two state regulatory exemptions from mandatory over- time: the professional exemption and the administrative exemption.”

The court determined that the accountants are not exempt as a matter of law. The court held that the “district court erroneously rejected triable defenses under both exemptions at summary judgment” and reversed the lower court’s decision. As the case moves forward in the trial court, the issue of whether the unlicensed accountants should receive overtime pay will continue to be litigated and we will be watching this case for further developments.

Our law firm has litigated many cases on behalf of employees who have not received their proper wages because their employers claimed they were not entitled to over-time and other pay. Often employers attempt to classify employees in a way to avoid paying these, and other, wages.

If you, or someone you know, is working in a company that might be avoiding the payment of wages that are required by law, you can get help. Many employees have secured the pay they are actually owed by fighting their employers and winning. Although every case is different and the issues in every case vary, we have litigated wage-and-hour cases and have helped many employees overcome these obstacles in receiving their rightful pay.

If you are working long hours and you believe you may be entitled to overtime pay, please contact the San Francisco wage-and-hour law firm of Hersh & Hersh for a free evaluation of your situation. We have experience helping workers get the pay to which they are entitled and we can evaluate your rights at no charge to you.