Henderson v. Equilon Enterprises, LLCAnnotate this Case
Danville, a third-party service station operator, fired Henderson following an accusation of sexual harassment. Henderson managed several of Danville’s Shell-branded gas stations but was never directly employed by Shell. Shell supplied the stations with fuel products and set fuel prices. Danville facilitated the collection of customer payments. Shell compensated Danville for this service and reimbursed Danville for certain expenses. Danville agreed to abide by certain standards to protect the Shell brand. Danville alone made decisions with respect to recruiting, interviewing, hiring, disciplining, promoting and terminating its employees; had sole control over employee payroll functions; and had its own employee handbook. Shell retained the right to ask Danville to “remove” an employee from a Shell-owned station “for good cause shown.” Henderson was instructed to contact Danville for any questions about operating his stations. Shell was not involved in the decision to terminate Henderson’s employment. After his termination, Henderson sued for unpaid wages, statutory wage and record-keeping penalties and interest, plus restitution, injunctive, and declaratory relief under Business and Professions Code section 17200, alleging that Shell was liable as his “joint employer.” The court of appeal affirmed judgment in favor of Shell. Henderson did not present any triable issues of fact demonstrating the existence of a joint employment relationship under the three alternative definitions of employment set forth in Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Order No. 7.