Zelasco-Barrett v. Brayton-Purcell LLP (No. A130540), Matthew Zelasco-Barrett and his
employment law attorney
sued Brayton in a
wage and hour claim
for overtime pay. Barrett and his attorney claimed that he should not
have been classified as exempt from overtime pay during the time between
when he graduated law school and when he passed the bar exam to become
a licensed attorney. Barrett worked for Brayton after graduation but before
passing the exam from August 2007 to June 2009 as a law clerk. He was
promoted to an associate after being admitted to the bar to be an attorney.
During the time Barrett was a law clerk, he spent most of his time doing
tasks that a junior associate would but with supervision from a licensed
attorney. The court found for Brayton that Barrett was properly classified
as exempt from overtime pay.
The California Court of Appeals also found in favor of Brayton on the
wage and hour claim brought against them by Barrett. The professional
exemption to overtime pay removes employer's obligation to pay overtime
to employees who meet the requirements as defined in California's
wage and hour laws. The court first found that Barrett was primarily engaged
in work that a professional licensed attorney would do and second, although
he was supervised, he had the ability to exercise discretion and independent
judgment in his work.