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Rise of the Precedent Decisions


According to California Assembly, the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (Labor Commissioner) has no authority to issue regulations regarding wage and hour laws. This authority has been delegated only to the Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC). The problem? The IWC has been suspended due to lack of funding. The result? No new regulations are being issued regarding wage and hour laws other than those passed by the legislature. The solution? Precedent Decision Orders issued by the Labor Commissioner. Section 11425.60 of the California Government Code allows for the designation as a “precedent decision” any decision that contains a significant legal or policy determination of general application that is likely to recur. The Labor Commissioner has recently started using this method to define its position regarding various wage and hour laws.

So far, the Labor Commissioner has issued the following precedent decision orders:
PD #2005-0001: Meal Period Payment is a penalty, not a wage
PD #2006-0001: Commissions earning triggering events
PD #2006-0002: WITHDRAWN due to waiting time penalty calculation error
PD #2006-0003: Burden of proof; the subterfuge of payment of final wages
PD #2006-0004: Elements of vacation policy; the burden of proof

Copies of the Precedent Decisions can be obtained in .pdf format from:

The Law Office of Phillip J. Griego
95 South Market Street, Suite 520
San Jose, CA 95113
Tel. 408-293-6341
Original article by Robert E. Nuddleman, former associate of The Law Office of Phillip J. Griego.

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Phillip J. Griego represents employees and businesses throughout Silicon Valley and the greater San Francisco Bay Area including Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Los Altos, San Jose, the South Bay Area, Campbell, Los Gatos, Cupertino, Morgan Hill, Gilroy, Sunnyvale, Santa Cruz, Saratoga, and Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Clara, San Benito, Mendocino, and Calaveras counties.