Sunchaser Sunday

I took the Sunchaser today to the office to work on continued trial preparation. It is a crazy case. For about 70 years, the state labor commissioner has said that piece rate employees must earn as much or more on piece rate each day as they would have made hourly at minimum wage that day. My client has a regulated business where he has to take mandatory annual classes where they taught him this. He had to take a state test every 2 years, and its study guides say the same thing. Everybody agrees that my guy accurately recorded the work hours, and everybody agrees that nobody ever made less than they would have made hourly at minimum wage for the day. Minumum wage was $8 per hour at the time, and people averaged $11.49 per hour. The plaintiffs testified that they liked working there because they made more money there.

In 2013, 2 court cases decided that this was wrong. They said piece rate workers must be paid extra hourly wages for their rest breaks and other, non-production work time. One case involved Mercedes mechanics who made $400 per day, but still won a minimum wage violation. This caught everyone my surprise, and in our view represented a change in the law. The plaintiffs want back wages and penalties for the entire workforce during time before those cases. We are saying my client had a right to rely on what the state taught him, and that he should not be liable retroactively. We will see what a jury thinks. The judge hates us, so the screwjob could be in the works.


I took a break from prep and ran errands.

Look at what was at the pet store! I think it has cataracts.


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