CWS 3.0: January 4, 2012

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Temp Sues Studio for Late Pay

A former temporary stagehand for Dick Clark Productions Inc. filed a putative class action lawsuit against the studio because his temporary staffing provider failed to pay him on time, according to the new, December 2011 issue of Legs & Regs Advisor

Charles Griffin was hired by a staffing firm to perform one day of work backstage at a show produced by Dick Clark Productions in 2008. Despite being discharged on Nov. 22, 2008, Griffin alleges he didn’t receive his pay until February 2009.

Under California’s Labor Code, employees who are discharged must receive all wages owed to them on their final day of employment. However, a special rule for employees in the motion picture industry provides that a person who is laid off — and whose unusual or uncertain terms of employment require special computation in order to ascertain the amount due — must be paid by the next regular payday. Further, the labor code provides that if an employer willfully fails to pay any wages of an employee who is discharged or who quits, “the wages of the employee shall continue as a penalty from the due date thereof at the same rate until paid.”

Griffin claims he should have been paid within two weeks of the end of his assignment in November 2008. According to the suit, Griffin claims he and a proposed class of between 50 and 1,000 individuals are entitled to more than $400,000 in continuing wages under California law.

It is not uncommon for courts to find joint responsibility for payment of wages in California, and in this case, the plaintiff is suing the end user. Companies using the services of staffing providers should ensure that the contingents are paid all wages owed in accordance with applicable laws. Employers that work with contingent workers on short-term assignments of varying lengths, especially in California, should have safeguards in place to ensure that workers are paid upon termination of their assignments.

Because California has precise rules for different industries, consult counsel to ensure your current practices and your staffing firm’s practices are compliant with California law.

Produced by labor law firm Littler Mendelson in conjunction with Staffing Industry Analysts, the Legs & Regs Advisor is available to corporate members of Staffing Industry Analysts.

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