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Stoetzl v. Department of Human Resources

Supreme Court of California

July 1, 2019

KURT STOETZL et al., Plaintiffs and Appellants,
v.
DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES et al., Defendants and Respondents.

         First Appellate District, Division Four A142832

          Superior Court San Francisco City and County CJC11004661 John E. Munter Judge

          Carroll, Burdick & McDonough, Laurie J. Helper; Squire Patton Boggs (US), David M. Rice; Messing Adam & Jasmine, Jack T. Friedman, Gary M. Messing, Gregg McLean Adam, Yonatan L. Moskowitz, Monique Alonso; Goyette and Associates, Inc., and Gary G. Goyette for Plaintiffs and Appellants.

          Kronick, Moskovitz, Tiedemann & Girard, David W. Tyra, Kristianne T. Seargeant; Joan A. Markoff, Frolan R. Aguiling, Christopher E. Thomas and David D. King for Defendants and Respondents.

          Justice Chin authored the opinion of the Court, in which Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye and Justices Corrigan, Kruger, and Groban concurred.

          Justice Liu filed a concurring and dissenting opinion in which Justice Cuéllar concurred.

          OPINION

          CHIN, J.

         In this case, we decide whether a certified class of state correctional employees is entitled to additional compensation for time spent on pre- and postwork activities, including traveling from the outermost gate of the prison facility to their work posts within the facility, traveling back from their work posts to the outermost gate, being briefed before the start of a shift, briefing relief staff at the end of a shift, checking out and checking back in mandated safety equipment, putting on and removing such equipment, and submitting to searches at various security checkpoints within the facility. For convenience, we will refer to the time spent doing these pre- and postwork activities as “walk time” although we recognize that walk time includes many activities besides merely walking to and from a work post. There are two types of walk time that are relevant here. The first is the time a correctional employee spends after arriving at a prison's outermost gate but before beginning the first activity the employee is employed to perform (plus analogous time at the end of the employee's work shift). We will call this type of walk time “entry-exit walk time.” The second is the time a correctional employee spends after beginning the first activity the employee is employed to perform but before the employee arrives at his or her assigned work post (plus analogous time at the end of the employee's work shift). We will call this type of walk time “duty-integrated walk time.”[1]

         The trial court divided the plaintiff class into two subclasses, one for supervisory employees who were not represented by a union during the time period set forth in the class certification and the other for represented employees. We conclude that the subclass of represented plaintiffs expressly agreed, by way of the collective bargaining process, to a specific amount of compensation for duty-integrated walk time, and there is no allegation that the state failed to pay the agreed-upon amount. Moreover, the collective bargaining agreements that memorialized this agreement all provided that they constituted the entire understanding of the parties concerning matters contained therein, and thus they precluded other forms of compensation, such as compensation for entry-exit walk time. These agreements were approved by the Legislature, and each approval was signed by the Governor and chaptered into law, thus becoming specific legislation applicable to the represented plaintiffs and superseding more general laws to the extent of any conflict. Therefore, the represented plaintiffs' claims fail insofar as they seek additional compensation for either duty-integrated walk time or entry-exit walk time.

         As to the subclass of unrepresented plaintiffs, we conclude that they may be entitled to additional compensation for duty-integrated walk time. The terms and conditions that govern the employment of the unrepresented plaintiffs are determined by the Department of Human Resources (CalHR) and set forth in a manual known as the Pay Scale Manual and also in CalHR's regulations. The Pay Scale Manual defines compensable work time for purposes of calculating an employee's right to regular and overtime compensation, and duty-integrated walk time falls squarely within that definition. If, as is alleged, the state did not take duty-integrated walk time into consideration when calculating the compensation owed to the unrepresented plaintiffs, then those plaintiffs may be entitled to additional pay.

         Entry-exit walk time, by contrast, does not fall within the Pay Scale Manual's definition of compensable work time. Moreover, because the Pay Scale Manual comprehensively addresses the question of compensation for the unrepresented plaintiffs, it precludes compensation for any work time that falls outside the scope of its definition. Therefore, insofar as the unrepresented plaintiffs are seeking compensation for entry-exit walk time, their claims must be rejected.

         The Court of Appeal reached somewhat different conclusions, and therefore we reverse its judgment.

         I. Facts and Procedural Background

         A. Pretrial Proceedings

         This matter arises from the coordination (see Code Civ. Proc., § 404 et seq.; Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.501 et seq.) and joint disposition of three class-action complaints. The named defendants are the State of California and various departments of the state government. In each of the operative complaints, plaintiffs allege causes of action for (1) failure to pay contractual overtime in violation of Labor Code sections 222 and 223; (2) failure to pay the minimum wage in violation of Labor Code sections 1182.11, 1182.12, and 1194, and in violation of the applicable wage orders (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 8, § 11000 et seq.); (3) failure to keep accurate records of hours worked in violation of Labor Code section 1174; and (4) failure to pay contractual overtime in breach of common law contractual obligations. The gist of all these claims is that the state did not adequately compensate plaintiffs for walk time. Plaintiffs seek relief in the form of unpaid overtime compensation, unpaid California minimum-wage compensation, liquidated damages, injunctive relief, and attorneys' fees.

         The trial court granted class certification in all three actions, and it certified two plaintiff subclasses, one comprising unrepresented supervisory employees and the other comprising represented employees. Defendants then moved for judgment on the pleadings, which the trial court granted as to the causes of action for failure to pay contractual overtime in violation of Labor Code sections 222 and 223, and for failure to keep accurate records of hours worked in violation of Labor Code section 1174. The trial court ruled that Labor Code sections 222, 223, and 1174 are inapplicable to the state government. As to plaintiffs' other two causes of action, the trial court denied defendants' motion.

         The matter then proceeded to trial, but the parties stipulated that the trial could proceed in multiple phases. In the first phase, several threshold questions were tried to the court. A brief overview of two regulatory schemes is helpful to understand the threshold questions tried at the first phase.

         B. Regulatory Background

         1. Wage Order No. 4

         The Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) was created in 1913 with express authority to adopt regulations - called wage orders - governing wages, hours, and working conditions in the state of California. (Stats. 1913, ch. 324, § 6, pp. 634-635; see Martinez v. Combs (2010) 49 Cal.4th 35, 52-57 (Martinez) [describing the creation and role of the IWC].)[2] These wage orders, being the product of quasi-legislative rulemaking under a broad delegation of legislative power, are entitled to great deference, and they have the dignity and force of statutory law. (Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Supreme Court (2012) 53 Cal.4th 1004, 1027 (Brinker); see Martinez, at p. 61.) Our past cases have used the term “extraordinary” to describe this deference (Martinez, at p. 61), noting in this context that the Legislature's authority to delegate its legislative power to the IWC is expressly recognized in the state's Constitution (Martinez, at pp. 60-61). It remains true, of course, that the Legislature can enact statutes that supersede the wage orders - as occurred in the case of the Eight-Hour-Day Restoration and Workplace Flexibility Act of 1999 (Stats. 1999, ch. 134, pp. 1820-1830) - but courts must seek to harmonize IWC wage orders with statutes to the extent possible (Brinker, at p. 1027).

         IWC wage order No. 4-2001, which is at issue here, governs wages, hours, and working conditions in professional, technical, clerical, mechanical, and similar occupations. (IWC wage order No. 4-2001 (Wage Order No. 4); see Cal. Code Regs., tit. 8, § 11040.) Wage Order No. 4 includes a minimum wage section, which requires employers to pay their employees at not less than a designated hourly rate “for all hours worked” (Wage Order No. 4, § 4(A)(1)), and an overtime section, which defines regular hours and requires employers to pay their employees at an appropriate multiplier of their regular rate “for all hours worked” in excess of those regular hours (Wage Order No. 4, § 3(A)(1)).

         Both the minimum wage and the overtime sections of Wage Order No. 4 refer to “all hours worked, ” which the wage order defines as “the time during which an employee is subject to the control of an employer, and includes all the time the employee is suffered or permitted to work, whether or not required to do so.” (Wage Order No. 4, § 2(K), italics added.) The parties refer to this definition of compensable work time as the “control standard.” Under applicable case law, an argument can be made that both types of walk time at issue in this case fall within this definition. (See Morillion v. Royal Packing Co. (2000) 22 Cal.4th 575, 587-588 [holding that compulsory travel time on an employer's buses, to and from agricultural fields, is compensable under the wage order “hours worked” definition, because the employees are subject to employer “control”] (Morillion).)

         By reason of a 2001 amendment, Wage Order No. 4 applies to employees of the state government, but only in part. Before the 2001 amendment, former section 1(B) of the wage order stated: “The provisions of this Order shall not apply to employees directly employed by the State....” (IWC wage order No. 4-2000, § 1(B).) As a result of the 2001 amendment, section 1(B) now states: “Except as provided in Sections 1, 2, 4, 10, and 20, the provisions of this order shall not apply to any employees directly employed by the State....” (Wage Order No. 4, § 1(B), italics added.) Thus, only sections 1, 2, 4, 10, and 20 of Wage Order No. 4 govern state employment.[3] (See Sheppard v. North Orange County Regional Occupational Program (2010) 191 Cal.App.4th 289, 300-301 (Sheppard).) The sections that are most relevant here are section 2, which is the “Definitions” section (and which includes the definition of “[h]ours worked”), and section 4, which is the “Minimum Wages” section. Significantly, section 3 - which is the section of Wage Order No. 4 that guarantees overtime pay - is not among the excepted sections listed in the opening clause of section 1(B) of the wage order, and therefore section 3's overtime guarantee is not applicable to state government employees.

         In summary, Wage Order No. 4's “Definitions” and “Minimum Wages” sections expressly apply to rank-and-file employees of the state government, and Morillion, supra, 22 Cal.4th 575, supports an argument that both types of walk time at issue in this case fall within Wage Order No. 4's definition of “[h]ours worked, ” a definition that focuses on “control.”

         2. The Pay Scale Manual

         “Under the California Constitution it is the Legislature, rather than the Governor, that generally possesses the ultimate authority to establish or revise the terms and conditions of state employment through legislative enactments, and... any authority that the Governor or an executive branch entity... is entitled to exercise in this area emanates from the Legislature's delegation of a portion of its legislative authority to such executive officials or entities through statutory enactments.” (Professional Engineers in California Government v. Schwarzenegger (2010) 50 Cal.4th 989, 1015 (Professional Engineers), second italics added; see Pacific Legal Foundation v. Brown (1981) 29 Cal.3d 168, 188.) The Legislature has delegated to CalHR express authority to adopt regulations governing the terms and conditions of state employment, including setting the salaries of state workers (Gov. Code, § 19826) and defining their overtime (id., §§ 19843, 19844, 19845, 19849). Under this delegated legislative authority, CalHR has adopted the Pay Scale Manual, setting forth salary ranges for thousands of job classifications and establishing “work week groups” for purposes of regulating overtime. (See CalHR, California State Civil Service Pay Scales - Online Manual (54th Edition) (2019) <http://www.calhr.ca.gov/state-hr-professionals/pages/pay-scales.aspx> [as of June 27, 2019] (the Pay Scale Manual, or the Manual).)[4]

         The wages and hours of workers in California, including state government workers, are also governed by federal law, specifically, the FLSA (29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq.).[5] The FLSA imposes a federal minimum wage (id., § 206) and overtime compensation requirement (id., § 207). It generally defines overtime as “a workweek longer than forty hours, ” and it requires payment “at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate” for such work. (Id., § 207(a)(1).) But the FLSA includes several exemptions from its overtime requirement, including one for the employment, by a public agency, of fire suppression or law enforcement personnel (id., § 207(k) (section 7(k))).

         The latter exemption is sometimes referred to as the “section 7(k) exemption” because it appears in section 7(k) of the FLSA, a provision that is codified as section 207(k) of title 29 of the United States Code. In the case of law enforcement personnel (a category that includes correctional employees), the section 7(k) exemption requires that the employee receive overtime compensation “at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate” for any work in excess of 171 hours in a work period of 28 consecutive days (or a proportionately lesser number of hours in a shorter work period). (29 U.S.C. § 207(k)(1)(B); 29 C.F.R. § 553.230(b) (2018); see Fire Protection and Law Enforcement Employees of Public Agencies; Study of Average Number of Hours Worked, 48 Fed. Reg. 40518-40519 (Sept. 8, 1983) [describing how the 171-hour limit was determined].)

         As already noted, employees of the state government are not subject to Wage Order No. 4's overtime compensation section. (Wage Order No. 4, § 1(B).) Instead, CalHR has authority to define overtime compensation for state government employees (Gov. Code, §§ 19843, 19844, 19845, 19849), and more particularly, CalHR “is authorized to provide for overtime payments as prescribed by the [FLSA]” (id., § 19845, subd. (a), italics added). Pursuant to that authority, Section 10 of the Pay Scale Manual refers to “WORK WEEK GROUPS ESTABLISHED UNDER FAIR LABOR STANDARDS ACT (FLSA), ” and directly under that heading, the Manual establishes Work Week Group 2. Under the subheading “Determination of Coverage under FLSA, ” the Manual provides that “[t]he provisions of Work Week Group 2 are made applicable to all [employment] classes which are determined by the Director of [CalHR] to include positions subject to the FLSA.” (Italics added.) All the job classifications that are at issue in this litigation - both those of the represented plaintiffs and those of the unrepresented plaintiffs - are assigned to Work Week Group 2.[6]

         These same provisions of Section 10 of the Pay Scale Manual also incorporate the FLSA's definition of compensable work time, stating that “[f]or the purpose of identifying hours worked under the provisions of the FLSA, only the time spent which is controlled or required by the State and pursued for the benefit of the State need be counted.” (Italics added.) This definition, which expressly references the FLSA, is drawn nearly verbatim from the high court's decision in Tennessee Coal Co. v. Muscoda Local. (1944) 321 U.S. 590 (Tennessee Coal), which defines FLSA-regulated work as “physical or mental exertion (whether burdensome or not) controlled or required by the employer and pursued necessarily and primarily for the benefit of the employer and his business.” (Tennessee Coal, at p. 598, italics added.) Thus, it is clear that the Pay Scale Manual intends the FLSA's definition of compensable work time to apply.[7]

         The Pay Scale Manual's definition of compensable work time - like that of Wage Order No. 4 - uses the word “control[].” Nonetheless, the two definitions differ on a point that is critical to the parties' dispute. The Pay Scale Manual's definition is expressly based on the FLSA definition, and the FLSA, by its terms, excludes entry-exit walk time from coverage. That exclusion is a result of Congress's enactment, in 1947, of the Portal-to-Portal Act (29 U.S.C. § 252 et seq.). The Portal-to-Portal Act states that, except when a contract or custom provides otherwise, “no employer shall be subject to any liability or punishment under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938... on account of the failure of such employer to pay an employee minimum wages, or to pay an employee overtime compensation, for or on account of any of the following activities of such employee... [¶] (1) walking, riding, or traveling to and from the actual place of performance of the principal activity or activities which such employee is employed to perform, and [¶] (2) activities which are preliminary to or postliminary to said principal activity or activities, which occur either prior to the time on any particular workday at which such employee commences, or subsequent to the time on any particular workday at which he ceases, such principal activity or activities....” (Id., § 254(a), italics added.) The parties refer to this FLSA definition of compensable work time as the “first principal activity standard.”

         Plaintiffs' petition for review does not argue that entry-exit walk time is compensable under the constraints the Portal-to-Portal Act placed on the FLSA; rather, it argues that the FLSA definition of compensable work time does not apply. Therefore, we proceed under the assumption that under federal law, entry-exit walk time is not compensable. (See Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk (2014) 574 U.S. ___, ___ [135 S.Ct. 513');">135 S.Ct. 513, 519] [“We hold that an activity is integral and indispensable to the principal activities that an employee is employed to perform - and thus compensable under the FLSA - if it is an intrinsic element of those activities and one with which the employee cannot dispense if he is to perform his principal activities. Because the employees' time spent waiting to undergo and undergoing [the employer's] security screenings [when leaving work each day] does not meet these criteria, we reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals.” (italics added)].)

         In summary, this case involves a conflict between two regulatory schemes. Wage Order No. 4 regulates the minimum wage the state government must pay its rank-and-file employees, and it defines compensable work time in a broad way that arguably includes both types of walk time at issue in this litigation. (See Morillion, supra, 22 Cal.4th at pp. 587-588.) At the same time, the Pay Scale Manual sets forth the regular and overtime compensation that the state government must pay to certain classes of its employees (including plaintiffs' classes), and in so doing, it expressly adopts the FLSA's narrower definition of compensable work time, a definition that, by its terms, excludes entry-exit walk time.

         C. The Trial

         As noted, the parties stipulated that the trial could proceed in multiple phases. In the first phase, several threshold questions that were potentially dispositive of plaintiffs' claims were tried to the court. These questions included: (1) whether plaintiffs' compensable work time was properly determined according to the “control standard” (i.e., the standard that applies under the state's wage orders) or according to the “first principal activity... standard” (i.e., the standard that applies under the constraints the Portal-to-Portal Act placed on the FLSA), and also whether the represented plaintiffs agreed to application of the narrower federal standard; (2) whether the duty to pay plaintiffs the minimum wage was properly determined by California minimum wage law (including Wage Order No. 4's broad definition of compensable work time) or by federal minimum wage law (including the FLSA's narrower definition of compensable work time), and also whether the represented plaintiffs agreed to the application of federal minimum wage law and whether any such agreement is enforceable; and (3) whether an employee of the state can bring a common law breach of contract claim against the state for failure to pay overtime compensation that has been earned, and if so, what contractually enforceable overtime policies existed.

         The evidence at the first phase of the trial established the following facts.

         1. The Represented Plaintiffs

         The represented plaintiffs are members of State Bargaining Unit 6, which covers state correctional employees, and they are represented by the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA). The CCPOA and the state have negotiated several memoranda of understanding (MOUs), but the MOU in effect from July 1, 1998 to June 30, 1999 (the 1998-1999 MOU) was the first to include a section 7(k) schedule. Specifically, the 1998-1999 MOU contained a section entitled “7k Exemption, ” which provided for a work schedule of 168 hours in a recurring 28-day work period.

         The “7k Exemption” section of the 1998-1999 MOU began with an express reference to the FLSA: “CCPOA and the State agree that the [represented plaintiffs] are working under the provisions of Section []7k of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the parties acknowledge that the employer is declaring a specific exemption for these employees under the provisions specified herein.” The 1998-1999 MOU then set forth the 168-hour work schedule, and it defined overtime as time worked in excess of that schedule. The 168 hours consisted of 160 hours of “on post” duty, four hours of “pre and post work activities, ” and four hours of “training.” Regarding the four hours of “pre and post work activities, ” the 1998-1999 MOU stated: “CCPOA agrees that generally this is sufficient time for all pre and post work activities during each work period, and that the compensation allotted for these activities under this provision is full compensation for all of these activities.”[8] The 1998-1999 MOU further stated: “The State and CCPOA agree that they have made a good faith attempt to comply with all requirements of the FLSA in negotiating this provision.”

         Significantly, the phrase “pre and post work activities” as used in the 1998-1999 MOU referred to duty-integrated walk time, not entry-exit walk time. According to testimony from David Gilb, the state's chief negotiator, the state took the position during negotiations that the phrase encompassed activities that occurred before correctional employees arrived at their assigned work posts and after they left those posts, but the phrase only encompassed activities that began when an employee first picked up his or her equipment in the central control area of the prison facility and that ended when an employee dropped off the same equipment at the end of his or her shift. According to Gilb, the phrase “pre and post work activities” did not include time spent between entering the outermost gate of a prison facility and first picking up equipment, or time spent leaving a facility after dropping off equipment. The union initially sought compensation for such time, but the state argued that entry-exit walk time was not compensable because the parties were negotiating under the FLSA's section 7(k) exemption, and the FLSA - as amended by the Portal-to-Portal Act - did not require such compensation. Rather, asserted the state, compensable work time under the FLSA begins with the “first principal activity” that an employee is employed to perform. The testimony of CCPOA's chief negotiator, Stephen Weiss, confirmed that the parties did not consider entry-exit walk time to be compensable. He testified that the phrase “pre and post work activities” was not specifically defined in the MOU, “[b]ut in the conversations at the [bargaining] table, it was picking up your keys, picking up your tools, Mace, whatever was appropriate for the particular post that they were working.”

         During the discussions that led to the 1998-1999 MOU there was no suggestion that state wage-and-hour protections applied. The reason CCPOA did not make that argument was that, at the time of the negotiations, the state statutes setting the minimum wage and permitting private actions to enforce the minimum wage (Lab. Code, §§ 1182.11, 1182.12, 1194, 1197) only applied to the extent a wage order applied (see Martinez, supra, 49 Cal.4th at pp. 56-57), and the wage order that might apply to correctional employees - Wage Order No. 4 - expressly exempted employees of the state government from all its provisions. As mentioned, Wage Order No. 4 was revised in 2001, making a few of its sections, including its “Definitions” and “Minimum Wages” sections (but not its overtime section), applicable to state employees. (See Wage Order No. 4, § 1(B); see also Sheppard, supra, 191 Cal.App.4th at pp. 300-301.)

         The Legislature approved the 1998-1999 MOU, and this approval was signed by the Governor and chaptered into law. (Stats. 1998, ch. 820, § 2, p. 5135.) The next MOU, which was in effect between the parties from July 1, 1999 to July 2, 2001, continued the relevant provisions of the 1998-1999 MOU, and like its predecessor, it too was approved by the Legislature by way of a regularly enacted law. (Stats. 1999, ch. 778, § 6, subd. (b), p. 5613.) The MOU in effect from July 1, 2001 to July 2, 2006 (the 2001-2006 MOU) provided for a schedule of only 164 hours in a 28-day work period, with this shorter schedule going into effect on July 1, 2004. The shorter schedule was achieved by eliminating the four hours allocated to training in the previous MOUs. As with the previous MOUs, four hours remained allocated to “pre and post work activities, ” and the 2001-2006 MOU included the language from the previous MOUs, stating that those four hours were “sufficient time for all pre and post work activities during each work period” and “that the compensation allotted for these activities under this provision is full compensation for all of these activities.” The 2001-2006 MOU also included the language from the previous MOUs, stating that the parties had made a good faith attempt to comply with the FLSA. Like its predecessors, the 2001-2006 MOU was approved by the Legislature, and this approval was signed by the Governor and chaptered into law. (Stats. 2002, ch. 1, § 2, p. 3.)

         From July 2, 2006 to September 18, 2007, the parties negotiated unsuccessfully for a new MOU, and during that time, CCPOA and the state continued to give effect to the provisions of the 2001-2006 MOU. (See Gov. Code, § 3517.8, subd. (a) [authorizing employment under the terms of an expired MOU while negotiations are ongoing].) On September 18, 2007, the parties reached an impasse in their negotiations, and the state implemented the terms of its “last, best, and final offer.” (See id., § 3517.8, subd. (b).) Except by way of budget acts authorizing the expenditure of state funds, the terms of the state's “last, best, and final offer” were not approved by the Legislature. As regards the section 7(k) schedule, however, the “last best, and final offer” was not different from the 2001-2006 MOU.

         In late 2007, the national economy went into recession, and a steep drop in state revenues seriously impacted the state's budget. (See Professional Engineers, supra, 50 Cal.4th at pp. 1000-1008 [describing state's fiscal crisis, which began in late 2007 and continued for several years thereafter].) The state and CCPOA next entered into an MOU on May 16, 2011 (the 2011-2013 MOU). This new MOU, like its predecessors, invoked section 7(k) of the FLSA, and it continued the schedule of 164 hours in a recurring 28-day work period, a schedule that expressly included four hours for “pre and post work activities.” But, by the time of the 2011-2013 MOU, the present litigation had begun. Therefore, the 2011-2013 MOU did not include the language found in the earlier MOUs, stating that four hours constituted sufficient compensation for pre- and postwork activities. The MOU stated in a side letter that “nothing in this MOU shall have prejudicial effect to either side's arguments in Stoetzl v. State of California” (referring to the present litigation). The 2011-2013 MOU, like its predecessors, was approved by the Legislature, and this approval was signed by the Governor and chaptered into law. (Stats. 2011, ch. 25, § 2, p. 684.)

         2. The Unrepresented Plaintiffs

         Labor relations between the state and the unrepresented plaintiffs are governed by, among other things, the Bill of Rights for State Excluded Employees (Gov. Code, § 3525 et seq.), which imposes “meet and confer” obligations on the state (id., § 3533), but which does not provide for collective bargaining through an exclusive employee representative (id., §§ 3530, 3531). Therefore, no MOU governs the wages and hours of the unrepresented plaintiffs. Instead, CalHR, pursuant to its delegated legislative authority to set wages and hours for state workers (id., §§ 19826, 19843, 19844, 19845, 19849), has adopted the Pay Scale Manual. As discussed, state law expressly permits CalHR “to provide for overtime payments as prescribed by the [FLSA]” (Gov. Code, § 19845, subd. (a)), and Section 10 of the Pay Scale Manual does so for specified job classifications - including all the job classifications that are the subject of this litigation - by creating “Work Week Group 2” under the heading “WORK WEEK GROUPS ESTABLISHED UNDER FAIR LABOR STANDARDS ACT (FLSA).”

         Section 10 of the Pay Scale Manual divides Work Week Group 2 into three categories: (1) “employees in classes not eligible for exemption under Section 7K of the FLSA”; (2) “employees in law enforcement classes, for which exemption under Section 7K of the FLSA is claimed”; and (3) “employees in fire suppression classes, for which exemption under Section 7K of the FLSA is claimed.” As to each of these categories, the Pay Scale Manual adopts work schedules that derive directly from the FLSA (see 29 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1); 29 C.F.R. § 553.230 (2018)), thus confirming the intent of CalHR to adopt FLSA standards for Work Week Group 2. The job classifications of the unrepresented plaintiffs all fall within the first of the three Work Week Group 2 categories. Therefore, although their job classifications are included in Work Week Group 2, the unrepresented plaintiffs are not eligible for the FLSA's section 7(k) exemption. Rather, for them, the Pay Scale Manual defines overtime “as all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a period of 168 hours or seven consecutive 24-hour periods, ” which, of course, is how the FLSA defines overtime when no special exemption is invoked (see 29 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1)).

         D. The Trial Court's Ruling

         The gist of plaintiffs' claims is that the state did not adequately compensate them for walk time. The trial court rejected that assertion, ...


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