Ninth Circuit Ends Wage Statement Class Action Where Plaintiff Suffered No “Real-World Consequences” From Error in Employer’s Name
Employers in California have been inundated with wage-hour class actions for the past two decades. And, time and again, they have had to deal with employee-friendly decisions from the California Supreme Court.
Leave it to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal to step in and put an end to a proposed class action, finding that there were no “real-world consequences” from wage statements had an error in the employer’s name.
In Lerna Mays v. Walmart Stores, Inc., the plaintiff brought suit under California Labor Code section 226 after receiving her final pay stub, which listed her employer by a slightly different name – “Wal-Mart Associates, Inc.” instead of “Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.” That section requires employers to include certain criteria within employee pay stubs, including the name of the employer. Lab. C. § 226(a)(8).
Although it denied to certify a class on some claims, the District Court granted the plaintiff’s motion to certify a class on the claim that their wage statements were inaccurate. Wal-Mart appealed.
On March 17, 2020, the Ninth Circuit issued a decision reversing the order. The Ninth Circuit found that, while there may have been a technical violation of the statute, the plaintiff suffered no damages: “Apart from her confusion, [the plaintiff] did not suffer any real-world consequences flowing or even potentially flowing from the violation.”
Because she suffered no injury-in-fact, she lacked standing to bring her wage statement claim in federal court. Accordingly, the Ninth Circuit reversed the certification order and remanded the case with instructions to dismiss the wage statement claim.