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RJO’s Employment Group Wins Appeal for Restaurant Employer in a Manager Misclassification Case

November 8, 2022

The California Court of Appeals for the First District recently rendered a unanimous decision in favor of RJO’s client in the Rodriguez v. Parivar, Inc.

In this case, the plaintiff, a restaurant manager in a franchised restaurant, accused her employer of misclassifying her as an exempt employee.  The jury rendered a mixed verdict, finding in favor of the employer on the meal and rest period claims while awarding the plaintiff premiums for unpaid overtime.

In reversing the verdict, the appellate court agreed with RJO in finding that the special verdict form was erroneous because it improperly focused the jury solely on the amount of time the plaintiff spent performing non-exempt duties and prevented the jury from deciding a critical aspect of the exemption defense—whether the plaintiff’s job performance diverged from the employer’s realistic expectations.

Congratulations to Sharon Rossi (lead) and the rest of the trial and appellate team (S. Amber Lee, Suhani Kamdar, John Heller, Dennis Huie, and Joseph Burgess) in achieving this rare feat of overturning a jury verdict.

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