This case involved a class of Mexican temporary ?onion?? farmworkers.??? ?They ?brought claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act alleging that their employer failed to reimburse them for travel and immigration expenses incurred during the first week of employment.?? The district court held the failure to reimburse such expenses did not constitute an illegal kickback of wages. ?The Ninth Circuit reversed.?The FLSA allows an employer to deduct ?board and lodging? but not items primarily benefitting the employer. ?The U.S. Department of Labor ?had ?determined ?regulatory? bulletin ?it ?had held that travel and immigration related expenses were ?primarily? for ?the ?benefit ?of ?the ?employer. The Ninth Circuit determined that the bulletin was a reasonable interpretation of a regulatory ambiguity.?The Court held that the complaint?s allegation that the employer?s violations were ?deliberate, intentional, and willful? was sufficient to ?plead ?the? 3-year? statute? of? limitation ?and reversed the district Court?s contrary conclusion.
Rivera v. Peri & Sons Farms Inc., ?— F.3d —, (9th Cir. Nov. 13, 2013) (?O?Scannlain, M. Smith, Singleton (D. AK.))