“Hours Worked” include time spent waiting or other non-productive tasks

Gonzalez v. Downtown LA Motors, LP (2013) 215 Cal.App.4th 36, 155 Cal.Rptr.3d 18

The Court of Appeal, Second District, in Gonzalez v. Downtown LA Motors, LP (2013) 215 Cal.App.4th 36, 155 Cal.Rptr.3d 18 reiterated the principles laid in Armenta v. Osmose, Inc. (2005) 135 Cal.App.4th 314, 37 Cal.Rptr.3d 460. The issue presented before the Court was whether California’s minimum wage law requires an employer that compensates its automotive service technicians on a “piece-rate” basis for repair work must also pay those technicians a separate hourly minimum wage for time spent during their work shifts waiting for vehicles to repair or performing other non-repair tasks directed by the employer.

The Court of Appeal scrutinised the reasoning of Armenta and  discussing policies underlying California’s minimum wage law and regulations which reflect a strong public policy in California in favor of full payment  of wages for all hours worked, held that:

“Employer violated Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) wage order requiring payment of “not less than the applicable minimum wage for all hours worked in the payroll period,” by failing to pay employees for time spent performing tasks other than repair work on customers’ vehicles which was paid on a piece-rate basis at rate above minimum wage, even if employer guaranteed that each employee’s pay for each 80-hour pay period was at least the total number of recorded hours “on the clock” multiplied by the applicable minimum wage, where the employer required employees to remain at work and wait or perform other tasks when no piece-rate work was available.” (Gonzalez