201401.27
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New Law Protects Losing Employees in Wage and Hour Cases From Paying Attorneys’ Fees

As of January 1, 2014, a new law (SB 462) makes it more difficult for prevailing employers in wage and hour cases to collect attorneys’ fees and costs against their employees.

Prior to the new law, Labor Code §218.5 required courts in wage and hour cases to award the prevailing party attorneys’ fees and costs. Under the new law, however, a prevailing employer will only be awarded attorneys’ fees and costs if it can convince the court that the employee brought the action in bad faith. Bad faith is a difficult standard to prove, so the new law will likely result in few employers recovering attorneys’ fees from their employees in wage and hour cases.

The amendment of Labor Code §218.5 does not affect a prevailing employee’s right to attorneys’ fees and costs in wage and hour cases.