HR Management & Compliance

Newspaper Hit With $2.5 Million Verdict For Overtime, Break Violations

A federal jury in
Southern California has returned a $2.5 million verdict against The Chinese
Daily News, the largest Chinese language newspaper in North America, for
numerous overtime, break, and vacation pay violations under California and federal law. The case was
filed by three former reporters on behalf of about 200 current and former
employees at the Monterey Park-based paper (in Southern California), including
other reporters, salespeople, delivery drivers, and clerical employees.


The HR Management & Compliance Report: How To Comply with California Wage & Hour Law, explains everything you need to know to stay in compliance with the state’s complex and ever-changing rules, laws, and regulations in this area. Coverage on bonuses, meal and rest breaks, overtime, alternative workweeks, final paychecks, and more.


One of the lawsuit’s
claims was that reporters, who routinely worked 10- to 12-hour days, 6 days a
week, were misclassified as exempt creative professionals and thus did not
receive overtime premium pay. The suit also challenged the paper’s
classification of salespeople under the inside sales exemption, on the grounds
that The Chinese Daily News didn’t qualify as a retail or service
establishment, as required for the exemption under federal law.


Further, the employees
challenged the newspaper’s policy of cashing out accrued but unused vacation
time at a set daily rate that was lower than some employees earned. The employees
pointed to a California
law requiring that vested vacation time that is paid out in wages be paid at
the employee’s final (or then-current) pay rate. Other claims for which the
jury awarded damages included missed breaks, wage-statement violations, and
improper calculation of the regular pay rate for purposes of figuring overtime
premium rates.


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