California Court Upholds Award of Fees and Costs to Former Employee
A lawsuit that originated as a wage and hour class action served as the platform for new precedent holding federal law applies to the determination of the type of costs recoverable by a prevailing party in a case filed in state court alleging a violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The plaintiff prevailed on her individual FLSA claim for wrongful employment termination. In addition to the damages awarded by the jury, the court awarded $689,310.04 in attorney fees and $50,591.69 for the costs of litigation. The California Court of Appeals relied on FLSA Section 216(b) that provides any employer who wrongfully terminates an employee in retaliation for filing an FLSA action shall be liable for legal or equitable relief and shall pay the employee’s reasonable attorney fees and costs of the action. Federal courts have construed this section to authorize awarding a prevailing employee a broad measure of costs, which include copying, postage, and mediation expenses.