Employer pays $58.5 Million settlement for wage-statement violations
Like many other employees, you may usually just file away the pay stubs you receive from your employer, biweekly or twice a month, without even reviewing them. But there is much more to these pay stubs—or wage statements—than you may realize. California’s Labor Code requires that these pay stubs include specific, accurate and itemized information. An employer’s failure to comply can result in a statutory penalty of up to $4,000 for each employee.
The following information are required to be provided in your pay stubs:
(1) gross wages earned;
(2) total hours worked;
(3) number of piece-rate units earned and any applicable piece rate if the employee is paid on a piece-rate basis;
(4) all deductions made from the employee’s pay;
(5) net wages earned;
(6) the applicable dates for the relevant pay period;
(7) the name and identification number of the employee;
(8) the name and address of the employer; and
(9) all applicable hourly rates in effect during the pay period and the corresponding number of hour worked at each hourly rate.
The law is aimed at ensuring transparency and fairness in employees’ pay. Providing accurate and complete information in pay stubs protects workers’ rights.
The importance of this seemingly bureaucratic requirement is seen in a recent case involving United Airlines. A federal court in Los Angeles recently granted preliminary approval to a $58.5 million class action settlement that emphasizes the importance of complying with California’s strict wage-statement requirements. The claims in Vidrio v. United Airlines, Inc. involved a class of California-based flight attendants who worked for United Airlines. The settlement resolves claims that the airline’s wage statements to their California-based flight attendants failed to include information required by the California Labor Code.
In Vidrio, the plaintiffs alleged that United failed to include the required information regarding total hours worked each pay period, all applicable hourly rates of pay in effect during the pay period, all corresponding hours worked at each applicable hourly rate, and the employer’s address. The courts rejected United’s claim that they were exempt from the wage-statement requirement in light of their collective bargaining agreement with the flight attendants’ union. But the court agreed with United that a P.O. Box address satisfied Section 226’s requirement for an employer address.
However, the court ruled in favor of the flight attendants in finding that United failed to include information regarding all applicable hourly rates of pay and the corresponding number of hours worked at each rate. United’s wage statements listed only the total amounts earned in various pay categories. Plaintiffs’ claim regarding failure to provide information on all hours worked was scheduled to go to trial.
Instead, the parties agreed to settle the flight attendants’ claims for $58.5 million, which includes an award of attorneys’ fees and costs, service awards for the two class representatives, settlement administration fees, and civil penalties payable to the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency. The Court noted that, after deducting these amounts, the Net Settlement Amount to be distributed to the class is approximately $35.2 million.
In light of these amounts, employees will be well served by inspecting their wage statements to ensure compliance with California’s strict wage-statement requirements. It is smart to contact experienced employment attorneys to seek a confidential and no-cost consultation to determine if employers are complying with the law.
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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.
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The Law Offices of C. Joe Sayas, Jr. welcomes inquiries about this topic. All inquiries are confidential and at no cost. You can contact the office at (818) 291-0088 or visit www.joesayaslaw.com.
[For more than 25 years, C. Joe Sayas, Jr., Esq. successfully recovered wages and other monetary damages for thousands of employees and consumers. He was named Top Labor & Employment Attorney in California by the Daily Journal, selected as Super Lawyer by the Los Angeles Magazine for 11 years, and is a past Presidential Awardee for Outstanding Filipino Overseas.]