California - New Wage Rates Announced for Computer Exemption

Under Labor Code Section 515.5, some computer software employees are considered exempt if they meet certain duties and compensation criteria.  The compensation rate is supposed to vary with the rate of inflation.

The California Division of Labor Statistics and Research has just adjusted the minimum pay rates for the exemption for 2012:

Old hourly rate:  $37.94
New rate:  $38.89

Old monthly salary: $6,587.50
New monthly salary: $6,752.19

Old annual salary: $79,050.00
New annual salary  $81,026.25

The DLSR's memorandum announcing the change is here.

Thanks to the Cal Chamber for pointing this out.


No Individual Liability for Supervisors Under Military Service Anti-Discrimination Law

Mario Pantuso is a member of the U.S. Navy. He served six months in Iraq and then sought return to his job at Safway Services. Denied reinstatement, he sued Safway and two former supervisors under the Military and Veterans Code for discrimination.  If you are unfamiliar with that law, here it is, as quoted by the court:

Section 394, subdivision (a) reads: “No person shall discriminate against any officer, warrant officer or enlisted member of the military or naval forces of the state or of the United States because of that membership. No member of the military forces shall be prejudiced or injured by any person, employer, or officer or agent of any corporation, company, or firm with respect to that member‟s employment, position or status or be denied or disqualified for employment by virtue of membership or service in the military forces of this state or of the United States.” (Italics added.)

Section 394, subdivision (d) reads in part: “No employer or officer or agent of any corporation, company, or firm, or other person, shall discharge any person from employment because of the performance of any ordered military duty or training or by reason of being an officer, warrant officer, or enlisted member of the military or naval forces of this state . . . .” (Italics added.)
 So, the individual managers sought to have the claims against them dismissed. The trial court refused, and they took a writ to the court of appeal. The court of appeal agreed that there is no individual liability for supervisors under the Military and Veterans Code. The court reasoned that the law is written similarly to the Fair Employment and Housing Act and has a similar purpose. Because individuals cannot be held liable for discrimination and retaliation under FEHA, the same result should obtain.  The court pointed out that some federal decisions impose liability for individuals under the federal USERRA.  But the plaintiff was proceeding under state law, and the language of USERRA is different.

Because the narrow issue was whether individuals could be held liable, there was no discussion of the merits of the lawsuit itself.

The case is Haligowski v. Superior Court and the opinion is here.


Brinker (Meal Period Case) Oral Argument

I am told there are lawyers who waited hours to get a seat at the California Supreme Court's hearing on Brinker v. Superior Court.  It's called "Youtube."  Look into it.  

For those of you who would not wait in line for a courtroom hearing, the oral argument is here.

As you will see, it looks like some justices are concerned that employers should not have to force employees to take meal periods.  The court will issue its decision within 90 days.