Summary Judgment for Owner of Business Who Was Not Involved With, and Did Not Participate in, Alleged Wage Violations

Summary Judgment for Owner of Business Who Was Not Involved With, and Did Not Participate in, Alleged Wage Violations

On May 28, 2021, a court of appeal in Usher v. White affirmed summary judgment in favor of the individual owner of a business who had been sued for alleged wage and hour violations under California law. In 2014, the plaintiffs commenced a wage-and-hour class action lawsuit against White Communications and DirecTV alleging that they had been misclassified as independent contractors to avoid rules regarding overtime, meal and rest periods, etc. In January 2018, the plaintiffs amended their complaint to add two owners of White Communications as individual defendants under Labor Code section 558.1. The Usher court rejected the plaintiff’s contention as to one owner stating that to be held liable under section 558.1, an owner of a business must either have been personally involved in the purported violation of one or more of the enumerated provisions of the statute or had sufficient participation in the activities of the employer, including, for example, over those responsible for the alleged wage and hour violations, such that he or she may be deemed to have contributed to, and caused a violation.