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    « Pioneer Electronics Case Applies to Wage and Hour Class Actions | Main | The Murphy v. Kenneth Cole Decision: Another Huge Victory For Employees »


    Steve Kane

    Clearly, this is a big victory for plaintiffs' counsel in meal period cases. Aside from the resolution of the wage/penalty issue, the Court continues its policy of strong enforcement of wage and hour laws and regulations, and re-emphasized the rule that wage and hour statutes are to be "broadly construed."

    Footnote 7, dealing with the December, 2004 politically engineered reversal by the DLSE of its prior interpretation of the payment under 226.7 as a wage, is very significant. The Court made short work of this "180 degree turn," commenting that even DLSE acknowledged that "the issue became highly politicized" and finding that "[W]hen an agency's construction "'flatly contradicts'" its original interpretation, it is not entitled to "significant deference." In this comment, the Court recognizes that politically appointed agency directors cannot be relied upon to interpret statutes as the Legislature intended, rather than as certain interest groups might desire.

    The result could be that launching a political "coup d'etat" in an agency to obtain reversal of existing statutory interpretations may not be an effective strategy in the future.

    Plaintiffs' counsel and the amicii in this important case deserve great credit for battling it to a successful conclusion!

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