California Labor &
Employment Law Blog
Aug 30, 2012

California Court Re-Issues Favorable Decision on Commissioned Salesperson Exemption

Topics: Court Decisions, Wage & Hour Issues

We previously reported on Muldrow v. Surrex Solutions Corp., a case in which a California court held that certain professional recruiters qualified for California's commissioned salesperson exemption.  The court applied a broad and favorable interpretation of the types of pay that qualify as commissions for purposes of the exemption.  Well, the case also involved the court's denial of the class members' claim for missed meal breaks, based on the court's determination that the employer need only provide the opportunity to take breaks and does not have to ensure that they are taken.  The plaintiffs appealed while Brinker was pending before the California Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court granted review on a "grant and hold" basis pending the Court's issuance of a decision in Brinker.  The grant of review rendered the Muldrow case no longer citable authority.  As the world now knows, the Supreme Court eventually confirmed in Brinker that employers need only provide, not ensure the taking of, meal breaks.  After issuing its decision in Brinker, the Supreme Court transferred the held cases, included Muldrow, back to the originating courts for further review in light of Brinker.  This week, the court in Muldrow issued a new decision, essentially re-confirming its prior decision and reasoning on the commissioned salesperson exemption and confirming that the plaintiffs' meal break claim was also properly denied. 

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About the Editor

Robin Largent has a regular presence in California state and federal courts and has been lead defense counsel and appellate counsel for large and small California employers in litigation (and arbitration) ranging from individual discrimination and harassment claims to complex wage and hour representative and class actions. She also leads the firm’s appellate practice, having substantial experience and success handling appeals, writ petitions, and amicus briefs in both state and federal court on issues such as class certification (particularly in the wage and hour arena), manageability and due process concerns associated with class action trials, exempt/non-exempt misclassification issues, meal and rest break compliance, trade secret/unfair competition matters, and the scope of federal court jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act.
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