Employer Prevails in Class Action Alleging Incomplete Wage Statements
A recently published California case, Morgan v. United Retail Inc., illustrates just how ridiculous the wage and hour litigation front in California has gotten. In this case, the plaintiff brought a putative class action against her employer alleging the employer’s pay stubs failed to comply with California Labor Code section 226 because the stubs did not have a separate line listing the employee’s total hours worked. Instead, the stubs separately listed the total regular hours and the total overtime hours, but did not also provide the sum total of those two numbers on a separate line. The plaintiff succeeded in getting a class certified but then lost the war when the court granted the employer’s motion for summary judgment. In finding for the employer, the court held that the employer’s pay stubs satisfied the requirements of Labor Code section 226 by listing the total regular hours and the total overtime hours. The fact that the stubs did not separately list the sum total of these hours was insufficient to establish a violation of section 226.
Because the court found that the stubs complied with section 226, the court refused to decide two other arguments made by the employer—that the plaintiff was in no way injured by the omission of the sum total of hours on the pay stub, and that the employer’s omission of the sum total was not knowing or intentional. Perhaps these issues will be decided in another one of the many cases now alleging hyper-technical wage statement violations.