Obtaining Class Certification Difficult in Overtime Exemption Cases

California Employment Law Letter

Matthew A. Goodin, Senior Attorney in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s San Francisco office, authored an article in California Employment Law Letter, titled “Obtaining Class Certification Difficult in Overtime Exemption Cases.” (Read the full version – subscription required.)

Following is an excerpt:

This class action case has been winding its way through the court system for 10 years. At one point in the litigation, the California Supreme Court issued a decision setting forth rigorous standards that employees must meet to obtain class certification when they allege their employer misclassified certain employees as exempt from overtime. One important takeaway from the Supreme Court’s decision was that the use of the class action mechanism cannot deprive an employer of the right to prove that at least some employees were correctly classified as exempt and therefore wouldn’t be entitled to damages. As the employees in this case have learned, because most misclassification cases involve questions about how employees actually spend their work time, it’s often very difficult to rely on statistical sampling to prove a case is suitable for class treatment.