Kaanaana v. Barrett Business Services, Inc.Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs sued a staffing company that provided employees for public recycling facilities under contracts with Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts, in a class action under the Labor Code. The trial court found that the prevailing wage law did not apply and the Labor Code section 226.7 remedy was the exclusive remedy for shortened meal periods, an additional hour of pay at their regular rate. The court of appeal reversed. The prevailing wage law applies; plaintiffs were engaged in “public work” within the meaning of the Labor Code. The amount of back pay to which plaintiffs are entitled for that violation, and whether plaintiffs are entitled to additional damages arising from the breach, are matters for the trial court on remand. The remedy for improper shortening of meal periods consists of one additional hour of pay for every shortened meal period under section 226.7 plus payment of wages for actual time worked during the shortened meal period. Plaintiffs are not entitled to be compensated for the time during which they were free from employer control. Because plaintiffs were entitled to wages for actual time they were required to work during their meal periods, defendants may be subject to “waiting time penalties” that apply when an employer willfully fails to pay any wages of an employee who is discharged or quits (section 203(a)). Defendants are also subject to civil penalties (section 1197.1) for payment of wages less than the legal minimum.