Monday, January 7, 2019

Furry v. East Bay Publishing

Terry Furry sued his former employers East Bay Express and East Bay Publishing LLC (collectively East Bay) for, among other things, unpaid overtime wages, meal and rest break compensation, and statutory penalties for inaccurate wage statements.  Although the trial court found that East Bay failed to keep accurate records of Furry’s work hours, it concluded that Furry was not entitled to any relief because his testimony was too uncertain to support a just and reasonable inference that he performed work for which he was not paid.  The trial court also found that Furry was provided with uninterrupted meal and rest breaks as required by law.

For the reasons set forth below, we hold that it was error to completely deny Furry relief on his overtime claim, because imprecise evidence by an employee can provide a sufficient basis for damages when the employer fails to keep accurate records of the employee’s work hours.  (Hernandez v. Mendoza (1988) 199 Cal.App.3d 721, 727 (Hernandez).)  We agree, however, that Furry is not entitled to premium or regular pay for missed meal breaks because he failed to demonstrate that East Bay knew or reasonably should have known he was working through authorized meal breaks.  Accordingly, we reverse the judgment in part and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

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