9th Circuit Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of Plaintiffs

Chinese Daily News (CDN), a California-based Chinese-language newspaper has lost its appeal in front of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's rulings, and found that CDN had violated federal and state laws regarding overtime pay and lunch and meal breaks.

Plaintiffs originally sued CDN for wage violations. The company had alleged that the employees, who were current and former reporters for CDN, were exempt pursuant to the "creative professional exemption." Both the trial court and the appellate court disagreed. Under the "creative professional exemption," reporters may be exempt if their work requires interpretation or analysis. However, reporters who do not engage in such endeavors will not generally be exempt employees.

Specifically, the Court found that "CDN's articles do not have the sophistication of the national-level papers at which one might expect to find the small minority of journalists who are exempt," the panel said. "The intense pace at which CDN's reporters work precludes them from engaging in sophisticated analysis."

In many circumstances reporters will be eligible to receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek.

Newspaper loses 9th Circuit appeal in overtime, lunch break dispute, Westlaw News & Insight, November 2, 2010

Categories: Overtime