Monthly Archives: August 2013

When we win, we’ll get our attorneys’ fees, right? Right!??!?

file0001422084804Well, if you are an employer defending a wage and hour claim, probably not. Earlier this week, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 462. The new law severely restricts the award of attorneys’ fees to employer-defendants in wage claim issues. Effective January 2014, employers that prevail in litigation will have to show that workers sued “in bad faith” over nonpayment of wages, benefits or pension contributions to secure attorney fees and costs. The same restriction will not apply to winning worker-plaintiffs.
The law amends Labor Code section 218.5, which previously permitted either the employee or employer to seek attorney’s fees as the prevailing party. The revised statute authorizes attorney’s fees to employers (or any other party that is not the “employee”) only if the court determines the lawsuit was brought in “bad faith.” That’s a high standard –meaning it is unlikely that employers will be awarded their fees.