California Employee Awarded Overtime Wages

Are you a California employee who is worried about proving how much overtime your employer owes you?  

Last Friday, the California Court of Appeals certified Morales v. Factor Surfaces LLC, — Cal.Rptr.3d —-, 2021 WL 4304852 (2021) for publication and affirmed that Byron Morales, a California commissioned employee was entitled to $99,394.16 in unpaid wages and emotional distress.  In doing so, the Court held an employee’s own records can provide a sufficient basis for unpaid wages. 

In Morales, Mr. Morales earned $120 per day, part of which was earned through commissions.  Generally, in California, a commissioned employee’s rate of pay is determined by dividing the employee’s total weekly commission payments by 40 hours.  However, the Company could not offer any accurate testimony about which part of Mr. Morales’ wages could be attributed to commissions. Nor did the Company keep any of Mr. Morales’ payroll or commission records. 

As a result, without these records, the Court held that it was proper to rely on Mr. Morales’ own records. Specifically, Mr. Morales could use his own paychecks showing he earned $120 a day to calculate his rate of pay.  The Court was firm:

[W]here the employer has failed to keep records required by statute, the consequences for such failure should fall on the employer, not the employee. In such a situation, imprecise evidence by the employee can provide a sufficient basis for damages. . . The employer cannot be heard to complain that the damages lack the exactness and precision of measurement that would be possible had he kept records ….” 

Morales v. Factor Surfaces, LLC, — Cal.Rptr.3d —-, 2021 WL 4304852 at *3 (2021)

If you are an employee who is owed wages, please contact Courtney and she may be able to help.