Oman v. Delta Air Lines, Inc.

Filing 68

ORDER DISMISSING CASE. Signed by Judge William H. Orrick on 01/06/2017. (jmdS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 1/6/2017)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 DEV ANAND OMAN, et al., 7 Case No. 15-cv-00131-WHO Plaintiffs, 8 v. ORDER ON MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT 9 DELTA AIR LINES, INC., 10 Re: Dkt. Nos. 58, 59 Defendant. United States District Court Northern District of California 11 INTRODUCTION 12 The parties cross-move for summary judgment on plaintiffs’ claims that Delta violates 13 14 California Labor Code section 226 by failing to provide Flight Attendants who work for any 15 amount of time on the ground in California individualized wage statements disclosing the total 16 hours worked at specific hourly rates.1 Plaintiffs also separately move for summary judgment on 17 their PAGA claim under Labor Code section 204, arguing that Delta fails to make timely wage 18 payments for pay periods encompassing any work by Flight Attendants in California.2 The facts regarding how and when Flight Attendants are paid and what information they 19 20 are given regarding their wages are not in dispute. Instead, the dispute is whether the protections 21 of the California Labor Code provisions at issue apply to the four named plaintiffs when they only 22 worked a de minimis amount of time in California during any of the relevant pay periods. I 23 conclude that given the undisputed facts in this case, California law does not apply. Delta’s 24 1 25 26 Delta moves for summary judgment on plaintiffs’ third claim for wage statement penalties under California Labor Code section 226, fourth claim for civil penalties under the Private Attorneys’ General Act, (PAGA) and fifth claim for violation of California’s unfair competition law. 2 27 28 Delta argues that plaintiffs cannot move for summary judgment on their PAGA claim under Labor Code section 204, because the parties’ stipulation allowing for summary judgment prior to class certification (Dkt. No. 57) did not encompass that claim. 1 motion for summary judgment is GRANTED and plaintiffs’ motion is DENIED. BACKGROUND 2 3 I. DELTA’S PAY FORMULAS Delta pays its flight attendants on a bid packet and rotation system where each month 4 5 Flight Attendants “bid” on Rotations that are scheduled to depart from the Flight Attendant’s base 6 the following month.3 For each Rotation, the Bid Packets describe the number and length of the 7 Duty Periods encompassed within the Rotation, the Report Times for each Duty Period, the 8 scheduled total flight time for each Segment within the Rotation (which is measured from Block 9 Out to Block In), and the amount of time that the Flight Attendant can expect to be away from base. The Bid Packets show which of Delta’s four pay formulas will apply to the Rotation, what 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 the credit value of the Rotation is, and calculates the minimum compensation for each Rotation. The 12 credit valuation included in the Bid Packets for each Rotation serves as a minimum guarantee for 13 Flight Attendants with respect to credits. The actual compensation may increase as a result of delays, 14 changes, or other contingencies; it cannot decrease. 15 Delta’s bidding and compensation policies are laid out in Delta’s Work Rules. Delta uses four 16 formulas to determine a Flight Attendant’s actual pay. The “Flight Pay” formula is based on the actual 17 flight time and/or scheduled flight time of the Segments, whichever is greater. Under the “Duty Period 18 Credit,” Delta “credits” flight attendants with “1 hour of flight pay for every 2 hours on duty for any 19 given period.” The “Minimum Duty Period Credit” (MDC) multiplies 4:45 hours by the Flight Pay 20 Rate for each Duty Period within a Rotation that has at least one flight Segment. And under the “Trip 21 Credit” formula, Flight Attendants receive credit for 1 hour of flight time for each 3.5 hours they are 22 away from base. Delta runs calculations for each Flight Attendant’s Rotation and pays the Flight Attendant 23 24 using the formula that results in the highest amount of pay. In no event is a Flight Attendant’s pay less 25 per hour worked in the Duty Period (all hours worked), than the California minimum wage rate. Each 26 27 28 3 The facts regarding Delta’s four pay formulas and how they operate are not disputed and taken from my prior Order granting Delta’s motion for summary judgment on plaintiffs’ minimum wage claims. Dkt. No. 45, December 29, 2015 Order. 2 1 formula uses a “base” which Delta defines as “Flight Pay Rate.” But the Flight Pay Rate is not an 2 agreed to “hourly rate of pay;” it is instead part of the mathematical equation Delta runs to 3 determine actual pay. 4 II. DELTA’S WAGE TRACKING AND PAYMENTS 5 Delta provides Flight Attendants information about their hours worked and income paid 6 through its Monthly Time Display System (MOTS), which is available to all Flight Attendants. 7 Declaration of Brian Moreau (Dkt. No. 59-2) ¶ 8. MOTS allows Flight Attendants “real-time” 8 access to their compensation for each Rotation and non-flight activity as they progress through 9 their monthly schedules. Id. 10 Delta provides wage statements to Flight Attendants at the time of each payment of wages. United States District Court Northern District of California 11 Moreau Decl., ¶ 10. Those wage statements show each “category” of payments made to Flight 12 Attendants as a separate line-items, but do not show the hours worked or hourly rates paid for 13 those categories. Id.; see also, Frederick Decl., Ex. J (Eichmann wage statements). Flight 14 Attendants also receive a Monthly Activity Pay Statement (“MAPS”) for each bid period, which 15 contains detailed pay information about their flying and non-flying activities for each bid period. 16 Moreau Decl., ¶¶11- 13; Frederick Decl. Ex. K (Eichmann 2014 MAPS). For each flight within a 17 Rotation, the MAPS shows: (1) the flight number; (2) the departure day; (3) the departure and 18 arrival airports; (4) the report time for the first flight of the Duty Period; (5) the Block Out and 19 Block In times; and (6) the actual flight time. Moreau Decl. ¶ 12. It also shows the total hours 20 credited and provides a pay summary breaking down the current monthly pay based on flight 21 credits and amounts paid for holding pay, flight leader pay, and TAFB. Frederick Decl., Ex. K. 22 Delta pays Flight Attendants on the 15th and last day of each month (i.e., semi-monthly). 23 Moreau Decl., ¶ 9. As Delta does not know Flight Attendants’ final schedules for a bid period 24 until they are complete, it provides them with a base allotment of 45 credits at their Flight Pay 25 Rate per bid period, where Attendants receive 22.5 credits in each paycheck. Id. Following the 26 close of the bid period, Delta calculates the total credits for that bid period, determines what 27 28 3 1 premium pay rates should be applied4 and what additional payments should be made,5 and 2 calculates the TAFB pay. Id.6 The resulting amount is then split evenly between the two pay 3 periods for the following bid period. Id. For example, on October 15th, Flight Attendants receive 4 22.5 credits for October 1st through 15th, plus fifty percent of their credits, premiums, and TAFB 5 pay for September. Id. Then, on October 31st, the Flight Attendants receive the remaining 22.5 6 credits for October plus the remaining credits, premiums, and TAFB pay for September. Id. 7 III. PLAINTIFFS’ WORK HISTORY During the relevant time period, plaintiff Oman was based out of New York/JFK airport. 9 Plaintiff Eichmann was based out of Los Angeles/LAX and a California resident since February 10 2014, and before that was based out of Detroit (DTW) or Seattle (SEA). Plaintiff Lehr has been 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 8 based out of San Francisco/SFO, but has been a resident of Las Vegas, Nevada throughout his 12 employment with Delta. Plaintiff Flores is a resident of California based out of Los 13 Angeles/LAX. Plaintiffs do not dispute that the named plaintiffs spent between 86 percent and 97.1 14 15 percent of their “flight-related working hours” outside of California, and that they continuously 16 worked in multiple jurisdictions on a pay period, weekly, and daily basis.7 17 4 For example, for being a Flight Leader or for international flights. Moreau Decl. ¶ 12. 5 For example, for holding pay or training pay. Moreau Decl. ¶¶ 7, 12. 18 19 6 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Time Away from Base Pay (TAFB) is a meal expense reimbursement payment, paid at an hourly rate for every hour spent away from base for any Rotation, including non-compensable time (e.g., layovers after release from duty). Moreau Decl. ¶ 7. TAFB pay is paid at a different rate for domestic and international travel. 7 Specifically, Delta contends that the percentage of time each named plaintiffs worked outside of California in the relevant time periods is as follows: Eichmann 91.4%; Flores 89.1%; Lehr 86%; and Oman 97.1%. Declaration of Valentin Estevez (Dkt. No. 59-3) at 5-6. Delta calculated those figures by using two measures to determine time spent on the ground in California; MAPS reports showing reporting time and Block In and Block Out, and on-time performance reports showing taxi times. Estevez Decl. at 2-5. Delta’s expert used those measures for flights flown by the named plaintiffs into and out of California and compared report times and departure times, turn time at California airports, deplaning times at California airports, and taxi-times. Estevez Decl. at 4. In their declarations, the named plaintiffs assert only that they “regularly” fly into and out of California airports, but provide no estimate as to how much time they worked in California in any given pay period or during the class period. See Dkt. No. 58-19, Flores Decl. ¶ 2 (“regularly fly into and out of California airports”); Dkt. No. 58-20, Lehr Decl. ¶ 2 (same); Dkt. No. 58-21, Eichmann Decl. ¶ 2 (same). 4 1 2 3 IV. PRIOR ORDER In my prior Order granting Delta’s motion for summary judgment on plaintiffs’ minimum wage claims, I concluded that Delta’s payment practice did not violate California’s minimum wage requirements because Delta’s Work Rules compensated Flight Attendants for all of their 4 hours worked, in a fully disclosed manner based upon the floor guaranteed by the Bid Packet 5 process. I recognized that under Delta’s system, workers were not provided a guaranteed 6 minimum rate for each hour on Duty, but that the Flight Pay Rate was used as part of the 7 mathematical equation Delta runs to determine actual pay. December 2015 Order at 5. 8 The parties now cross-move for summary judgment on plaintiffs’ remaining claims under 9 California Labor Code sections 226 and 204. 10 LEGAL STANDARD United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 I. SUMMARY JUDGMENT Summary judgment on a claim or defense is appropriate “if the movant shows that there is 13 no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of 14 law.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). In order to prevail, a party moving for summary judgment must show 15 the absence of a genuine issue of material fact with respect to an essential element of the non16 moving party’s claim, or to a defense on which the non-moving party will bear the burden of 17 persuasion at trial. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Once the movant has 18 made this showing, the burden then shifts to the party opposing summary judgment to identify 19 “specific facts showing there is a genuine issue for trial.” Id. The party opposing summary 20 judgment must then present affirmative evidence from which a jury could return a verdict in that 21 party’s favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 257 (1986). 22 On summary judgment, the Court draws all reasonable factual inferences in favor of the 23 non-movant. Id. at 255. In deciding a motion for summary judgment, “[c]redibility determinations, 24 the weighing of the evidence, and the drawing of legitimate inferences from the facts are jury 25 26 functions, not those of a judge.” Id. However, conclusory and speculative testimony does not raise genuine issues of fact and is insufficient to defeat summary judgment. See Thornhill Publ’g Co., 27 Inc. v. GTE Corp., 594 F.2d 730, 738 (9th Cir.1979). 28 5 1 2 II. CALIFORNIA LABOR CODE Section 226 requires employers to “semimonthly or at the time of each payment of wages” provide employees “either as a detachable part of the check, draft, or voucher paying the 3 employee's wages, or separately if wages are paid by personal check or cash, an accurate itemized 4 statement in writing showing (1) gross wages earned, (2) total hours worked by the employee . . ., 5 (4) all deductions . . ., (5) net wages earned, (6) the inclusive dates of the period for which the 6 employee is paid, (7) the name of the employee and only the last four digits of his or her social 7 security number or an employee identification number other than a social security number, (8) the 8 name and address of the legal entity that is the employer . . ., and (9) all applicable hourly rates in 9 effect during the pay period and the corresponding number of hours worked at each hourly rate by 10 the employee. . . . For purposes of this subdivision, ‘copy’ includes a duplicate of the itemized 11 United States District Court Northern District of California statement provided to an employee or a computer-generated record that accurately shows all of the 12 13 information required by this subdivision.” Cal. Lab. Code § 226. Section 204 requires that all wages “are due and payable twice during each calendar 14 month, on days designated in advance by the employer as the regular paydays. Labor performed 15 between the 1st and 15th days, inclusive, of any calendar month shall be paid for between the 16th 16 and the 26th day of the month during which the labor was performed, and labor performed 17 between the 16th and the last day, inclusive, of any calendar month, shall be paid for between the 18 1st and 10th day of the following month.” Cal. Lab. Code § 204. 19 DISCUSSION 20 21 22 Delta’s main argument is that the four named plaintiffs cannot be covered by Sections 226 and 204 of the California Labor Code – which provide procedural protections for wages earned under California law – when the vast majority of their work occurred in federal airspace governed 23 by federal regulations and any work on the ground in California was de minimis and incidental to 24 their work as Flight Attendants in the air. Plaintiffs contend that whenever a Flight Attendant flies 25 into or out of California, their work in that pay period becomes covered by the Labor Code 26 sections (and therefore California-compliant wage statements and payments are required), 27 regardless of where the Flight Attendant resides or is based out of, and regardless of how much 28 6 1 time that Flight Attendant works on the ground in California during that pay period. 2 I. 3 4 SECTION 226 A. Delta’s Wage Statements and Wage Information Delta does not dispute that it does not provide Flight Attendants an itemized wage 5 statement showing all of the information required under Section 226 for each bi-monthly pay 6 period, particularly the exact hours worked by each Flight Attendant and the rate or rates the 7 Flight Attendant was paid for those hours. Delta argues that it cannot provide that information 8 because, as discussed extensively on the prior motion for summary judgment, Delta uses an 9 atypical method of payment which is not based on a set hourly wage rate for each of the tasks it 10 requires of Flight Attendants. United States District Court Northern District of California 11 Delta contends, however, that the essential information required by Section 226 is 12 provided through the monthly MAPS and the accessible-anytime MOTS. The MAPS statements 13 are apparently generated on a monthly basis, not bi-monthly as required under Section 226. 14 Moreover, MAPS does not disclose an hourly wage rate for each hour worked, but instead show 15 the formula of how the final payments for each Rotation were determined. MOTS is not a 16 “statement” provided to the Flight Attendants at the time they are paid, but instead a system that 17 they can access. As with the MAPS, it does not disclose an hourly rate for each category of work 18 performed by plaintiffs. 19 Delta cannot rely on the MAPS and MOTS to argue that Delta satisfies the requirements of 20 Section 226. However, as discussed below, I reject plaintiffs’ theory of liability under Section 21 226. Because the undisputed facts show that the named plaintiffs only worked a de minimis 22 amount of time on the ground in California, the “situs” of their work is not California. For the 23 reasons that follow, California Labor Code provisions do not apply to their wage statements. 24 25 B. Applicability of Section 226 Plaintiffs argue that under the California Supreme Court’s decision in Sullivan v. Oracle 26 Corp., 51 Cal. 4th 1191 (2011) (Sullivan I), when any work is performed within California, the 27 employee should receive a Section 226-compliant wage statement regardless of where the bulk of 28 her or his work in the relevant pay period is performed. However, neither Sullivan I nor the 7 1 subsequent decision from the Ninth Circuit in Sullivan v. Oracle Corp., 662 F.3d 1265, 1267 (9th 2 Cir. 2011 (Sullivan II) addressed the question presented here. In the Sullivan cases, the non- 3 resident plaintiffs sought overtime pay for full days and weeks worked “entirely in California.” 4 Sullivan I, 51 Cal. 4th at 1196; id. at 1199-00 (“plaintiffs here claim overtime only for entire days 5 and weeks worked in California, in accordance with the statutory definition of overtime.” 6 (emphasis in original)).8 The California Supreme Court focused narrowly on the nature, scope, 7 and purpose of the Labor Code provision at issue there – requiring overtime for any entire day or 8 week worked in California – and concluded that in light of the purpose and language of Section 9 510, it could be applied against the California-based employer for the full days and entire weeks worked by the non-resident employees in California. The court was careful to limit its holding to 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 overtime under Section 510, and repeatedly noted that its conclusion under Section 510 did not 12 automatically apply to other provisions of the Labor Code, for example, those regulating “pay 13 stubs.” Sullivan v. Oracle Corp., 51 Cal. 4th at 1201. Here, plaintiffs ignore the purpose and scope of Section 226. They argue, regardless even 14 15 of whether the Flight Attendant’s or the employer’s residence is in California or whether they 16 worked a full pay period in California, that the trigger for liability is simply performing any work 17 in California during a pay period. Given the nature of the claim under Section 226 and the nature 18 of the plaintiffs’ jobs as Flight Attendants, it is wrong to ignore whether California can be 19 considered the situs of the Flight Attendants’ work sufficient to invoke Section 226’s wage 20 statement requirements. 21 The analysis Judge Alsup recently undertook in a factually analogous case, Ward v. United 22 Airlines, Inc., No. C 15-02309 WHA, 2016 WL 3906077 (N.D. Cal. July 19, 2016), is instructive. 23 There, Judge Alsup determined that Section 226 did not apply to wage statements issued to pilots 24 who were California residents but who worked “principally out of state.” Id. at *3-5; see also 25 Aguilar v. Zep Inc., No. 13-CV-00563-WHO, 2014 WL 4245988, at *12 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 27, 26 27 28 8 The statute at issue provided that “[a]ny work in excess of eight hours in one workday and . . . 40 hours in any one workweek . . . shall be compensated at the rate of no less than one and onehalf times the regular rate of pay. . . .” Cal. Lab. Code, § 510(a). 8 1 2 2014) (“‘the critical factor is where the work at issue is performed’ by the plaintiff.”). Plaintiffs argue that the “situs” analysis in Ward ignored the Sullivan precedent and should 3 not be followed. However, plaintiffs read Sullivan far too broadly. To determine whether a 4 particular California Labor Code provision should apply in a situation where work was performed 5 in California and in other jurisdictions, the appropriate analysis must focus on the particular Labor 6 Code provision invoked, the nature of the work being performed, the amount of work being 7 performed in California, and the residence of the plaintiff and the employer. 8 This multi-factor approach is consistent with the recent ruling in Bernstein v. Virgin Am., Inc., No. 15-CV-02277-JST (N.D. Cal. Jan. 5, 2017), where Judge Tigar concluded that California 10 wage and hour protections, including Section 226, applied to a class of California flight attendants. 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 9 Judge Tigar reached that conclusion because: (i) the attendants were California residents; (ii) 12 attendants sometimes worked entire days on consecutive flights between California airports; (iii) 13 the defendant was headquartered in California; (iv) the wrongful conduct (issuance and application 14 of compensation policies) emanated from California; and (v) the defendant had other “deep ties” 15 to California, including that almost 90% of its daily flights departed from a California airport and 16 it received millions of dollars in state subsidies to train all of its flight attendants in California. 17 That plaintiffs only spent around 25% of their total work time in California was a factor, but not a 18 determinative one in light of the others. Bernstein January 5, 2017 Order at 6-14. 19 The facts in Bernstein are starkly different than the undisputed facts here. Here, the 20 question is whether Section 226 should apply based solely on a Flight Attendant’s performance of 21 a de minimis amount of work in California during any pay period, not on the Flight Attendants’ 22 residence, an employer’s California residence or other “deep ties” to California, or the 23 performance of a significant amount of work in a particular pay period in California. Plaintiffs 24 assert that the amount of time worked in California – either during the class period or during a 25 particular pay period – is irrelevant to the applicability of Section 226, but that ignores important 26 California and federal precedent to the contrary. See, e.g., Tidewater Marine W., Inc. v. 27 Bradshaw, 14 Cal. 4th 557, 578 (1996) (“[I]f an employee resides in California, receives pay in 28 California, and works exclusively, or principally, in California, then that employee is a ‘wage 9 1 earner of California’ and presumptively enjoys the protection of IWC regulations.”); see also Oil, 2 Chem. & Atomic Workers Int'l Union, AFL-CIO v. Mobil Oil Corp., 426 U.S. 407, 420 (1976) 3 (concluding that the “predominant job situs is the controlling factor” in determining whether the 4 National Labor Relations Act “right to work” savings clause applies). Focusing on the purpose of Section 226 (to give employees clarity as to how their wages 5 6 are calculated, so they can verify that their wages are calculated appropriately under California 7 law)9, because the undisputed facts show that the named plaintiffs only worked a de minimis 8 amount of time in California (ranging from 2.6% to a high of 14%), and in light of the nature of 9 their work (necessarily working in federal airspace as well as in multiple other jurisdictions but during each pay period and day at issue), I conclude that Section 226 does not apply to the claims 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 of the four named plaintiffs. That Delta is not a California-based employer and that plaintiffs 12 explicitly disclaim any reliance on the residence of the Flight Attendants further strengthen this 13 conclusion. Plaintiffs also make a totally unfounded legislative history argument that recent 14 15 amendments to Section 226 evince the legislature’s intent to apply Section 226 to all other 16 workers who sometimes work outside of the state. Plaintiffs’ MSJ at 12-13; Plaintiffs’ Reply at 17 16-17.10 They rely on the legislature’s clarification that the total hours worked for certain 18 categories of employees who had already been determined to be exempt from overtime by an 19 existing statute or Industrial Welfare Commission order need not be reported on their wage 20 statements.11 That has nothing to do with whether employees who work a de minimis amount in 21 California are covered by Section 226. There is no logic or support to plaintiffs’ argument. 22 9 23 24 Soto v. Motel 6 Operating, L.P., 4 Cal. App. 5th 385, 392 (Ct. App. 2016) (“section 226(a)’s statutory purpose . . . is to document the paid wages to ensure the employee is fully informed regarding the calculation of those wages.” (emphasis in original)). 10 25 26 27 Plaintiffs’ reliance on the legislative history of other provisions of the Labor Code, e.g., Cal. Lab. Code § 245.5(a)(4) is similarly misplaced. Plaintiffs’ MSJ at 13. As the Sullivan I court recognized, the determination of whether a Labor Code provision extends to work performed in part in California depends on an analysis of the particular Labor Code provision at issue. Sullivan v. Oracle Corp., 51 Cal. 4th at 1201. 11 28 10 In sum, there is no basis to apply Section 226’s procedural protections to the named 1 2 plaintiffs. 12 3 II. APPLICABILITY OF SECTION 204 4 Like Section 226, Section 204 provides California workers a procedural protection; 5 requiring wages earned in California to be paid to them on a specific timeframe.13 Delta does not 6 dispute that it does not comply with Section 204. However, plaintiffs at oral argument admitted 7 that if I conclude Section 226 does not apply to the four named plaintiffs, then the result for their 8 Section 204 claim is the same. There are no additional arguments – based on the nature, scope, 9 and purpose of Section 204 – for reaching a different conclusion under that section. CONCLUSION 10 For the foregoing reasons, defendant’s motion for partial summary judgment is United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 GRANTED and plaintiffs’ motion is DENIED. Because no issues remain in this case, judgment 13 will be entered in Delta’s favor in full. 14 IT IS SO ORDERED. 15 Dated: January 6, 2017 ______________________________________ WILLIAM H. ORRICK United States District Judge 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 12 Having concluded that Section 226 (and as discussed below, Section 204) cannot apply to the claims of the named plaintiffs, I need not reach whether application of those provisions to Delta would violate the dormant commerce clause. 13 See’s Candy Shops, Inc. v. Superior Court, 210 Cal. App. 4th 889, 904–05 (2012) (“As observed by the California Supreme Court more than 70 years ago, ‘the sole purpose of [section 204] is to require an employer of labor who comes within its terms to maintain two regular pay days each month, within the dates required in that section.’” (quoting In re Moffett, 19 Cal.App.2d 7, 14 (1937)). 11

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