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June 2012

Gordon & Rees Prevails Before the California Labor Commissioner

San Francisco partner Mark Posard and associate Jennifer Lynch obtained a favorable ruling from the California Labor Commissioner on behalf of a dental corporation in a contentious wage and hour action. The claimant, a former dental hygienist, alleged claims for unpaid straight time, overtime, donning & doffing, failure to provide meal and rest periods, and failure to provide paid vacation and holiday time purportedly tied to an employment agreement.

The claimant alleged that the client required her to change into and out of her scrubs at work in order to ensure compliance with OSHA dental regulations, thereby making her changing time compensable. Gordon & Rees introduced numerous witnesses who contradicted claimant's allegations and further argued that applicable OSHA regulations specifically exempt "scrubs" from the type of personal protective equipment which must be donned and doffed at the place of employment to ensure appropriate handling. The Labor Commissioner agreed and found against claimant on every claim. The Commissioner ultimately awarded claimant just $1,441.13 in unpaid wages, which the client admitted were owed, along with interest and $170.00 worth of liquidated damages. The Labor Commissioner declined to assess waiting time penalties, because she found the client's failure to pay the wages was based on a good faith dispute.

Jennifer M. Lynch
Mark S. Posard