United Parcel Serv., Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles Cnty., No. B227190.

CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtBIGELOW
Citation2011 Daily Journal D.A.R. 8073,11 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 6768,125 Cal.Rptr.3d 384,196 Cal.App.4th 57
PartiesUNITED PARCEL SERVICE, INC., Petitioner, v. The SUPERIOR COURT of Los Angeles County, Respondent; William M. Allen et al., Real Parties in Interest.
Decision Date02 June 2011
Docket NumberNo. B227190.

196 Cal.App.4th 57
125 Cal.Rptr.3d 384
11 Cal.
Daily Op. Serv. 6768
2011 Daily Journal D.A.R. 8073

UNITED PARCEL SERVICE, INC., Petitioner,
v.
The SUPERIOR COURT of Los Angeles County, Respondent;
William M. Allen et al., Real Parties in Interest.

No. B227190.

Court of Appeal, Second District,
Division 8.

June 2, 2011.



[125 Cal.Rptr.3d 385]Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, M. Kirby C. Wilcox, San Francisco, George W. Abele and Elena R. Baca, Los Angeles, for Petitioner.

No appearance for Respondent.


Furutani & Peters, John A. Furutani, Duckworth; Peters & Lebowitz and Mark C. Peters for Real Parties in Interest.

BIGELOW, P.J.

[196 Cal.App.4th 60]


INTRODUCTION

Labor Code section 226.7 requires an employer who fails to provide an employee with a meal or rest period to pay that employee one additional hour of pay (or premium payment) “for each work day that the meal or rest period is not provided.” 1 The question before us is whether this statute authorizes one premium payment per work day regardless of the number or type of break periods that were not provided, or two premium payments per work day—one for failure to provide a meal period and another for failure to provide a rest period. We conclude section 226.7 permits up to two premium payments per work day.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS) is the employer defendant in 32 coordinated actions by employees who are seeking compensation for, among other things, UPS's alleged failure to provide meal and rest periods pursuant to section 226.7. That statute provides:

“(a) No employer shall require any employee to work during any meal or rest [125 Cal.Rptr.3d 386]period mandated by an applicable order of the Industrial Welfare Commission. [¶] (b) If an employer fails to provide an employee a meal period or rest period in accordance with an applicable order of the Industrial Welfare Commission, the employer shall pay the employee one additional hour of pay at the employee's regular rate of compensation for each work day that the meal or rest period is not provided.”

UPS moved the trial court to sever and make a pretrial determination concerning the amount of damages available under Labor Code section 226.7. (See Code Civ. Proc., § 1048, subd. (b).) UPS argued that only one premium payment is allowable per work day, regardless of the number or type of break periods that were not provided. The employee plaintiffs disagreed, contending Labor section Code 226.7, as well as the Industrial Welfare Commission's (IWC) Wage Order No. 9–2001 (which applies to employees in the transportation industry), allow up to two premium payments per work day—one for failure to provide meal periods, and another for failure to provide rest periods.

After a full hearing on the motion, the trial court disagreed with UPS and concluded section 226.7 allowed up to two premium payments per work day.

[196 Cal.App.4th 61]

Among other things, the court found persuasive a recent federal district court case decided in Los Angeles where the court held the IWC's wage orders provided “a separate remedy for violations of meal period requirements and violations of rest period requirements” and that allowing recovery of up to two premium payments per work day—one for each type of violation—was not inconsistent with the language of section 226.7. ( Marlo v. United Parcel Service, Inc. (C.D.Cal. May 5, 2009, CV 03–04336 DDP RZX) 2009 WL 1258491, p. 7, 2009 U.S.Dist. Lexis 41948, p. 21( Marlo ).)

UPS filed a petition for writ of mandate challenging the trial court's ruling, arguing section 226.7 precludes more than a single premium payment per work day, despite the fact an employer may have failed to provide both a meal and rest period in a particular day. We issued an order to show cause and heard oral argument in order to determine this significant legal issue and provide some guidance in the numerous coordinated cases before the trial court. (See Babb v. Superior Court (1971) 3 Cal.3d 841, 851, 92 Cal.Rptr. 179, 479 P.2d 379;Hogya v. Superior Court (1977) 75 Cal.App.3d 122, 129, 142 Cal.Rptr. 325.)

DISCUSSION
1. Principles of Statutory Interpretation and Standard of Review.

Our most important task in construing a statute is to ascertain the intent of the lawmakers and effectuate the purpose of the statute. Our first step is to examine the statutory language, giving the words a plain and commonsense meaning. (Code Civ. Proc., § 1859; Day v. City of Fontana (2001) 25 Cal.4th 268, 272, 105 Cal.Rptr.2d 457, 19 P.3d 1196.) The meaning of a statute may not be determined from a single word or sentence and the words must be construed in context. ( Dyna–Med, Inc. v. Fair Employment & Housing Com. (1987) 43 Cal.3d 1379, 1386–1387, 241 Cal.Rptr. 67, 743 P.2d 1323.) We do not give statutory language a literal construction if it is contrary to the legislative intent apparent in the statute. The intent prevails over the letter, and the letter will, if possible, be so read as to conform to the spirit of the act. ( People v. Belton (1979) 23 Cal.3d 516, 526, 153 Cal.Rptr. 195, 591 P.2d 485.)

If the statutory language is clear and unambiguous there is no need for statutory[125 Cal.Rptr.3d 387]construction or to look to the intent of the Legislature. ( People v. Ramirez (1995) 33 Cal.App.4th 559, 563, 39 Cal.Rptr.2d 374.) However, if a statute is amenable to two alternative interpretations, the one that leads to the more reasonable result will be followed. ( Metropolitan Water Dist. v. Adams (1948) 32 Cal.2d 620, 630–631, 197 P.2d 543.) The interpretation of a

[196 Cal.App.4th 62]

statute is a question of law subject to our independent review. ( People ex rel. Lockyer v. Shamrock Foods Co. (2000) 24 Cal.4th 415, 432, 101 Cal.Rptr.2d 200, 11 P.3d 956.)

We must also be cognizant of the fact that in light of the remedial nature of legislative enactments authorizing the regulation of wages, hours and working conditions for the protection and benefit of employees, such provisions are to be liberally construed with an eye to promoting such protection. ( Ramirez v. Yosemite Water Co. (1999) 20 Cal.4th 785, 794, 85 Cal.Rptr.2d 844, 978 P.2d 2.) Because section 226.7 is a statute governing the conditions of employment, it must be construed broadly in favor of protecting employees. ( Murphy v. Kenneth Cole Productions, Inc. (2007) 40 Cal.4th 1094, 1103, 56 Cal.Rptr.3d 880, 155 P.3d 284( Murphy ) [holding the remedy in section 226.7 is not a penalty but rather a “premium wage” intended to compensate employees for failure to provide meal and rest periods].)

2. The IWC Orders and Meal and Rest Period Requirements.

In order to provide context to our discussion of the premium pay provision of section 226.7, subdivision (b), we set forth the relevant terms of the IWC's wage orders and the meal and rest period requirement. Subdivision (a) of the statute prohibits employers from requiring their employees to work during any meal or rest period as “mandated by an applicable order of the [IWC],” a state agency empowered to formulate wage orders governing employment in California. ( Murphy, supra, 40 Cal.4th at p. 1102, fn. 4, 56 Cal.Rptr.3d 880, 155 P.3d 284.) While the Legislature defunded the IWC in 2004, its wage orders remain in effect. ( Ibid.)

The IWC originally issued wage orders mandating the provision of meal and rest periods in 1916 and 1932, respectively. It did so because it was concerned with the health and welfare of employees. However, the only remedy available to employees was injunctive relief aimed at preventing future abuse. ( Murphy, supra, 40 Cal.4th at p. 1105, 56 Cal.Rptr.3d 880, 155 P.3d 284.) In 2000, due to lack of employer compliance with the break periods, the IWC added a pay remedy to its wage orders. ( Id. at pp. 1105–1106, 56 Cal.Rptr.3d 880, 155 P.3d 284; see also § 516, authorizing the IWC to adopt orders concerning break periods.) 2

The IWC's wage orders treat meal periods and rest periods in separate sections, each providing the additional hour of pay per work day for the designated type of violation. Together, the sections provide, among other things, that employees are entitled to an unpaid 30–minute meal period after

[196 Cal.App.4th 63]

working for five hours and a 10–minute rest period per four hours of work. (See Cal.Code Regs., tit. 8, § 11090, subds. 11(A) & 12(B); Murphy, supra, 40 Cal.4th at p. 1104, 56 Cal.Rptr.3d 880, 155 P.3d 284.) With regard to the remedy for meal periods, the wage orders provide that “[i]f an employer fails to provide an employee a meal period in accordance with the applicable[125 Cal.Rptr.3d 388]provisions of this order, the employer shall pay the employee one (1) hour of pay at the employee's regular rate of compensation for each work day that the meal period was not provided.” (Cal.Code Regs., tit. 8, § 11090, subd. 11(D).) Concerning rest periods, the wage orders provide that “[i]f an employer fails to provide an employee a rest period in accordance with the applicable provisions of this order, the employer shall pay the employee one (1) hour of pay at the employee's regular rate of compensation for each workday that the rest period is not provided.” ( Id., subd. 12(B).)

As will be further discussed below, the wording used in the IWC wage orders is virtually identical to the wording used in subdivision (b) of section 226.7, except that instead of having separate sections for the meal and rest periods, the Legislature chose to describe both break periods together so that the additional hour of pay is for “each work day that the meal or rest period is not provided.” (Italics added.)

3. The MarloDecision

While a California court has not decided in a published opinion whether section 226.7 permits two premium payments per work day rather than just one, the federal district court in Marlo squarely faced and decided this issue. Because the court's decision is instructive, we discuss it in detail. (See People v. Zapien (1993) 4 Cal.4th 929, 989, 17...

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19 practice notes
  • People v. Superior Court of Los Angeles Cnty., No. B233816.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • March 29, 2012
    ...case. (See People v. Valencia (2011) 201 Cal.App.4th 922, 932, 136 Cal.Rptr.3d 25; United Parcel Service, Inc. v. Superior Court (2011) 196 Cal.App.4th 57, 63, 125 Cal.Rptr.3d 384 [unpublished federal district court cases are citable as persuasive authority].) 4. We note that on remand to t......
  • People v. Superior Court of L.A. Cnty., No. B233816.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • June 20, 2012
    ...case. (See People v. Valencia (2011) 201 Cal.App.4th 922, 932, 136 Cal.Rptr.3d 25;United Parcel Service, Inc. v. Superior Court (2011) 196 Cal.App.4th 57, 63, 125 Cal.Rptr.3d 384 [unpublished federal district court cases are citable as persuasive authority].) 4. We note that on remand to th......
  • Carranza v. Nordstrom, Inc., CASE NO. EDCV 14-01699 MMM (DTBx)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Central District of California
    • December 12, 2014
    ...one or more meal periods, and another for failure to provide one or more rest periods." United Parcel Service, Inc. v. Superior Court, 196 Cal.App.4th 57, 69 (2011). While a single employee may not recover more than two premium payments for a single workday (even if he or she missed more th......
  • Harris v. KM Indus., Inc., No. 20-16767
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • November 13, 2020
    ...median hourly pay of $20.00 in calculating the premium payment due per alleged violation. See United Parcel Serv. Wage & Hour Cases , 196 Cal.App.4th 57, 125 Cal. Rptr. 3d 384, 393 (2011) (California Labor Code generally allows "up to two premium payments per workday—one for failure to prov......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
19 cases
  • People v. Superior Court of Los Angeles Cnty., No. B233816.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • March 29, 2012
    ...case. (See People v. Valencia (2011) 201 Cal.App.4th 922, 932, 136 Cal.Rptr.3d 25; United Parcel Service, Inc. v. Superior Court (2011) 196 Cal.App.4th 57, 63, 125 Cal.Rptr.3d 384 [unpublished federal district court cases are citable as persuasive authority].) 4. We note that on remand to t......
  • People v. Superior Court of L.A. Cnty., No. B233816.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • June 20, 2012
    ...case. (See People v. Valencia (2011) 201 Cal.App.4th 922, 932, 136 Cal.Rptr.3d 25;United Parcel Service, Inc. v. Superior Court (2011) 196 Cal.App.4th 57, 63, 125 Cal.Rptr.3d 384 [unpublished federal district court cases are citable as persuasive authority].) 4. We note that on remand to th......
  • Carranza v. Nordstrom, Inc., CASE NO. EDCV 14-01699 MMM (DTBx)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Central District of California
    • December 12, 2014
    ...one or more meal periods, and another for failure to provide one or more rest periods." United Parcel Service, Inc. v. Superior Court, 196 Cal.App.4th 57, 69 (2011). While a single employee may not recover more than two premium payments for a single workday (even if he or she missed more th......
  • Harris v. KM Indus., Inc., No. 20-16767
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • November 13, 2020
    ...median hourly pay of $20.00 in calculating the premium payment due per alleged violation. See United Parcel Serv. Wage & Hour Cases , 196 Cal.App.4th 57, 125 Cal. Rptr. 3d 384, 393 (2011) (California Labor Code generally allows "up to two premium payments per workday—one for failure to prov......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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