Payne & Fears labor and employment litigators have significant experience defending employers against wage-and-hour violation claims brought individually, collectively, or through class action lawsuits. 

We defend employers in administrative and judicial proceedings under federal and state laws governing independent contractor status, entitlement to overtime pay, calculation of overtime pay, payment of vacation, personal and sick pay, and recordkeeping obligations. 

Our employment attorneys have experience with the California Labor Code and Wage Orders, Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Davis-Bacon Act, and the Service Contract Act. We are committed to staying current on court decisions and legislative actions that affect the complex laws governing wage-and-hour requirements. Some of our representative wage-and-hour successes are listed below.

Wage-and-Hour Litigation: Representative Matters Successes

  • Payne & Fears employment attorneys defeated a large wage-and-hour class action by: (1) winning summary adjudication against a certified statewide class on their meal-period claims; (2) successfully moving to strike the accompanying Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) claims; and (3) successfully defending both rulings in the Court of Appeal, yielding a reported decision – Esparza v. Safeway, Inc., 36 Cal.App.5th 42 (2019) – in favor of Payne & Fears’ client.
  • Payne & Fears represented a national retail chain in a “second wave” class action lawsuit where the plaintiff alleged misclassification of the stores’ California‐based assistant store managers and purported wage-and-hour violations. Our attorneys were able to negotiate a very favorable settlement prior to the hearing on class certification, engaging in aggressive fact discovery (obtaining declarations from employees regarding allegations concerning the elements of the exemption analysis) and convincing the plaintiff to attend an early mediation prior to taking any depositions. This defense strategy resulted in a settlement amount nearly one-tenth of the amount in the first wave lawsuit, which had been defended by another law firm. At the same time, legal fees and costs were a mere fraction of those incurred in the first wave lawsuit.
  • Payne & Fears helped lead counsel in Virginia obtain summary judgment in favor of a major retail franchisor over a statewide class action lawsuit affecting thousands of employees. The named plaintiff, an employee of one of the defendant’s franchises, brought suit in the Imperial County Superior Court, alleging claims for breach of contract and unfair business practices. She alleged that she was a third-party beneficiary to the franchise agreement and that she had been deprived of wages due to the payroll services the defendant provided to its franchise operators.
  • Payne & Fears obtained summary judgment on behalf of its client, a major national manufacturer, in a wage-and-hour class action in which the plaintiffs alleged that the defendant had failed to provide its union-represented employees with meal periods required under state law. Our attorneys removed the action (which had been filed in California Superior Court) to the United States District Court for the Northern District of California based on the argument that the plaintiffs’ claims were preempted by the Labor Management Relations Act. Our wage-and-hour attorneys then successfully resisted the plaintiffs’ motion to remand by demonstrating that the putative class members had agreed, through the applicable collective bargaining agreement, to take “on-duty” meal periods, and that the relevant contract terms required interpretation that could only be performed under the Labor Management Relations Act. The court then granted Payne & Fears’ motion for summary judgment and dismissed the case.