In re Work Uniform Cases, No. A107130.

CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtMarchiano
Citation34 Cal.Rptr.3d 635,133 Cal.App.4th 328
PartiesIn re WORK UNIFORM CASES. Salvador Goshorn et al., Plaintiffs and Appellants, v. State of California et al., Defendants and Respondents. [And six other cases.].<SMALL><SUP>*</SUP></SMALL>
Decision Date11 October 2005
Docket NumberNo. A107130.
34 Cal.Rptr.3d 635
133 Cal.App.4th 328
In re WORK UNIFORM CASES.
Salvador Goshorn et al., Plaintiffs and Appellants,
v.
State of California et al., Defendants and Respondents.

[34 Cal.Rptr.3d 636]

[And six other cases.].*
No. A107130.
Court of Appeal, First District, Division 1.
October 11, 2005.

[34 Cal.Rptr.3d 637]

Ronald Yank, San Francisco, Gary M. Messing, Sacramento, Timothy K. Talbot, San Francisco, Gregg McLean Adam, Carroll, Burdick & McDonough LLP, for Plaintiffs/Appellants, Craig Davis et al.

Dennis A. Marshall, J. Wesley Merritt, Office of County Counsel, for Defendant/Respondent, County of Fresno.

Bill Lockyer, Miguel A. Neri, Fiel D. Tigno, Karen Kiyo Huster, Office of the Attorney General, for Defendant/Respondent, State of California.

Jeffrey Blair, Office of the General Counsel, University of California, for Defendants/Respondents, The Regents of the University of California and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Douglas H. Barton, Amy L. Keyser, San Francisco, Hanson, Bridgett, Marcus, Vlahos

[34 Cal.Rptr.3d 638]

& Rudy LLP, for Defendants/Respondents, The Regents of the University of California and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Janet Tulk, Office of Laboratory Counsel, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, for Defendants/Respondents, The Regents of the University of California and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Michael J. Baytosh, Sacramento, Chris M. Egan, Porter, Scott, Weiberg & Delehant, for Defendant/Respondent, County of Yolo.

Gregory Oliver, Sonora, Walter de Lorrell III, Office of County Counsel, for Defendant/Respondent, County of Tuolumne.

Ann Miller Ravel, Martin H. Dodd, Marcy L. Berkman, Office of County Counsel, for Defendant/Respondent, County of Santa Clara.

James B. Betts, Fresno, Joseph D. Rubin, Betts & Wright, for Defendant/Respondent, City of Fresno.

MARCHIANO, P.J.


133 Cal.App.4th 332

A public employee's uniform is an identifying mark of distinction and a source of pride for the employee and those he or she serves. But who bears the financial burden for mandated uniforms? A number of public employees filed class action complaints against their employers alleging that the failure to compensate all members of the plaintiff class for the actual cost of purchasing, replacing, cleaning and maintaining required work uniforms constituted violations of the indemnification provisions of Labor Code section 2802.2 The trial court in these coordinated actions sustained demurrers without leave to amend as to all complaints and the employees appealed. We hold that section 2802 does not require public entities to pay claims for costs related to employee work uniforms and affirm.

BACKGROUND

The coordinated proceeding consists of seven cases filed by employees against their employers, which include the state, the Regents of the University of California, two charter counties (Fresno, Santa Clara), two general law counties (Yolo, Tuolumne), and a charter city (Fresno), seeking indemnification under section 2802 for the actual cost of uniforms and maintenance.3 Goshorn et al. v. State of California was filed as a class action, with named plaintiffs who are employees of various state departments including the Department of Corrections, California Youth Authority, Department of Forestry, California Conservation Corps, Military Department, Department of Parks and Recreation and Department of Developmental Services. Hostetter v. County of Yolo is also a class action with one named plaintiff who is a deputy sheriff. Allen et al. v. Lawrence Livermore Laboratory and Regents of the University of California is a class action with two named plaintiffs who are uniformed employees of the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory (the Regents).4 Robinson et al. v.

133 Cal.App.4th 333

County of

34 Cal.Rptr.3d 639

Fresno is a class action with three named plaintiffs who are deputy sheriffs.

On June 18, 2003, plaintiffs in the Goshorn et al. v. State of California action filed a petition for coordination of the above four actions with the chair of the judicial council. The judicial council authorized the presiding judge of the San Francisco Superior Court to assign a judge to hear the coordination petition. On July 28, 2003, the presiding judge assigned a coordination motion judge and, on October 27, 2003, a trial judge.

On October 15, 2003, the coordination judge ordered coordination of the actions as the Work Uniform Cases.

Davis v. County of Tuolumne was filed on October 6, 2003 as a class action. Craig Davis is a deputy sheriff. Hearin v. County of Santa Clara (Santa Clara Co. No. 103 CV008646) was filed on November 7, 2003 as a class action. The named plaintiff is a county park ranger.

On December 29, 2003, the court granted a petition to add the Davis and Hearin cases to the coordinated actions. Oliver et al. v. City of Fresno was filed on December 17, 2003 as a class action. The named plaintiffs are employed by the Fresno Police Department. On February 5, 2004, the parties stipulated to add the Oliver case to the coordinated actions.

All of the defendant public entities demurred to the various complaints. Plaintiffs filed a combined opposition to all demurrers on February 13, 2004. After a hearing on March 1, 2004, the coordination trial judge sustained all demurrers without leave to amend.

The court explained that Article XI of the state Constitution vests the power to prescribe the terms and compensation for employees with the city and county defendants, and that if section 2802 were interpreted to require payment for uniform purchase and maintenance, it would infringe on that constitutional delegation of power. As to the State of California, the court noted that Government Code section 19850.1 requires state employees to be responsible for purchase of uniforms, so the only issue as to the state was cleaning and maintenance of uniforms. The court determined that the state had the constitutional right to negotiate wage conditions for its employees.

133 Cal.App.4th 334

Regarding the Regents, the court cited its particular constitutional status and ruled that no statewide concern was present to preempt the Regents' authority over employee matters.

Notices of appeal were filed in all of the consolidated cases.

DISCUSSION

Section 2802 is located within Division 3 of the Labor Code, which is entitled "Employment Relations." (Lab.Code, § 2700.) Chapter 2, which contains section 2802, concerns the obligations of an employer, including the obligation to indemnify an employee for the employer's want of ordinary care, to safeguard a musician's musical instruments when located on the employer's premises and defenses in actions for personal injury or death of an employee. (§§ 2800, 2800.1, 2801.)

Section 2802 provides: "(a) An employer shall indemnify his or her employee for all necessary expenditures or losses incurred by the employee in direct consequence of the discharge of his or her duties, or of his or her obedience to the directions of the employer, even though unlawful, unless the employee, at the time of obeying the directions, believed them to be unlawful."5 (Lab.Code, § 2802.)

34 Cal.Rptr.3d 640

The sole issue raised by the complaints in these consolidated actions is whether section 2802 requires the public entity employers in this case to pay for the entire cost of purchase and maintenance of uniforms required for work. We examine this issue in light of the governmental entity status of each of the defendants.

City and County Defendants Are Charged With Fixing Terms of Employment

Yolo County and Tuolumne County are general law counties. California Constitution, article XI, section 1, subdivision (b), applies to all counties and provides as relevant: "The governing body [of each county] shall provide for

133 Cal.App.4th 335

the number, compensation, tenure, and appointment of employees." In addition, the Legislature has provided in Government Code section 25300 that: "The board of supervisors shall prescribe the compensation of all county officers and shall provide for the number, compensation, tenure, appointment and conditions of employment of county employees."

Santa Clara County and Fresno County are charter counties and the City of Fresno is a charter city. The California Constitution, article XI, section 5, subdivision (b) gives charter cities "plenary authority" to provide in their charters for the compensation, method of appointment, qualifications, tenure and removal from office of municipal employees. With respect to municipal affairs, city charters "shall supersede all laws inconsistent therewith." (Cal. Const., art. XI, § 5, subd. (a).)

Article XI, section 4, subdivision (f) of the California Constitution pertains to county charters and states that county charters shall provide for "[t]he fixing and regulation by governing bodies, by ordinance, of the . . . duties, qualifications, and compensation" of county employees. Subdivision (g) of the same provision specifies that a duly adopted county charter supersedes general laws adopted by the Legislature that concern counties.

Regarding these granted powers, our Supreme Court has explained: "The constitutional language is quite clear and quite specific: the county, not the state, not someone else, shall provide for the compensation of its employees. Although the language does not expressly limit the power of the Legislature, it does so by `necessary implication.'" (County of Riverside v. Superior Court (2003) 30 Cal.4th 278, 285, 132 Cal.Rptr.2d 713, 66 P.3d 718 (County of Riverside).)

Consistent with these grants of authority, the charters of Santa Clara County, Fresno County and the City of Fresno all establish that the governing bodies of those entities provide for the compensation of all public employees. The general law counties have also implemented negotiated uniform allowances.

The Legislature has also provided a comprehensive scheme of due process protections governing...

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37 practice notes
  • Heilig v. Touchstone Climbing, Inc., A113901 (Cal. App. 10/30/2007), A113901
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • October 30, 2007
    ...another from a legal consequence of the conduct of one of the parties, or of some other person.' " (In re Work Uniform Cases (2005) 133 Cal.App.4th 328, 342, italics added; see also Mel Clayton Ford v. Ford Motor Co. (2002) 104 Cal.App.4th 46, 54.) " `The very essence of an indemnity agreem......
  • Thornton v. California Unemployment Ins. Appeals Bd., No. D058635.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • April 17, 2012
    ...the reimbursement obligation is phrased in terms of indemnity (Lab.Code, § 2802, subd. (a); see In re Work Uniform Cases (2005) 133 Cal.App.4th 328, 342, 34 Cal.Rptr.3d 635 [Lab.Code, § 2802 is “basic indemnification statute”] ), which implies an obligation to pay a judgment entered or expe......
  • Espejo v. Copley Press, Inc., D065397
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • July 7, 2017
    ...monetary earnings but also other benefits to which the employee is entitled as part of compensation. ( In re Work Uniform Cases (2005) 133 Cal.App.4th 328, 337–338, 34 Cal.Rptr.3d 635 ( Uniform Cases ).) In Uniform Cases , the plaintiffs sought reimbursement under section 2802 for the cost ......
  • California Dairies Inc. v. Rsui Indemnity Co., No. 1:08-CV-00790 OWW GSA.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • March 20, 2009
    ...employees' compensation and should be considered like any other payment of wages, compensation or benefits." In Re Work Uniform Cases, 133 Cal.App.4th 328, 337-38, 34 Cal.Rptr.3d 635 Page 1045 The FLSA counterpart to the aforementioned state statutes is found at 29 U.S.C. § 207(e)(2), which......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
37 cases
  • Heilig v. Touchstone Climbing, Inc., A113901 (Cal. App. 10/30/2007), A113901
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • October 30, 2007
    ...another from a legal consequence of the conduct of one of the parties, or of some other person.' " (In re Work Uniform Cases (2005) 133 Cal.App.4th 328, 342, italics added; see also Mel Clayton Ford v. Ford Motor Co. (2002) 104 Cal.App.4th 46, 54.) " `The very essence of an indemnity agreem......
  • Thornton v. California Unemployment Ins. Appeals Bd., No. D058635.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • April 17, 2012
    ...the reimbursement obligation is phrased in terms of indemnity (Lab.Code, § 2802, subd. (a); see In re Work Uniform Cases (2005) 133 Cal.App.4th 328, 342, 34 Cal.Rptr.3d 635 [Lab.Code, § 2802 is “basic indemnification statute”] ), which implies an obligation to pay a judgment entered or expe......
  • Espejo v. Copley Press, Inc., D065397
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • July 7, 2017
    ...monetary earnings but also other benefits to which the employee is entitled as part of compensation. ( In re Work Uniform Cases (2005) 133 Cal.App.4th 328, 337–338, 34 Cal.Rptr.3d 635 ( Uniform Cases ).) In Uniform Cases , the plaintiffs sought reimbursement under section 2802 for the cost ......
  • California Dairies Inc. v. Rsui Indemnity Co., No. 1:08-CV-00790 OWW GSA.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of California
    • March 20, 2009
    ...employees' compensation and should be considered like any other payment of wages, compensation or benefits." In Re Work Uniform Cases, 133 Cal.App.4th 328, 337-38, 34 Cal.Rptr.3d 635 Page 1045 The FLSA counterpart to the aforementioned state statutes is found at 29 U.S.C. § 207(e)(2), which......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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