The Defendant in this case was the sole LLC manager of a Washington casino, who lived in Texas.? ?The Defendant also had a 51% ownership interest.? ?The individual did not personally write checks on behalf of the casino, did not set employee wages, did not make any decisions about the payment or non-payment of wages and did not initially know about the casino?s wage payment policies.?? Following her termination, ?the? Plaintiff? sent ?a? letter? to ?the casino demanding payment of her back wages per casino policy. ?The LLC manager learned of the wage payment obligation but still refused to pay.? ?He argued that he was not liable for the non-payment ?of ?employee ?wages ?under ?RCW 49.52.?? ?The ?Superior ?Court ?agreed.?? ?Division Two reversed.
The Court of Appeals held that the LLC manager was personally liable for willful withholding under RCW 49.52.070 once he learned ?of? the ?company?s ?obligation ?to ?pay wages. ?Relying on Morgan, the Court held that the Legislature intended to hold individuals who control the financial decisions of the corporation liable under RCW 49.52.070. ?The LLC manager had the power to ?oversee the Company?s business.? ?He was liable for participation in the willful withholding of wages once he learned about the casino?s payment obligation to the employee and refused to comply.
The Court held that Ellerman?s statement that only persons who have direct control over the payment of wages may be held liable under RCW ?49.52 ?applies ?only? to ??low-level employees responsible for payroll.??? It does not limit the liability of individuals who have authority over the financial decisions of a corporation and refuse to pay a known employee wage obligation.
Jumamil v. Lakeside Casino LLP, — Wn. App.—, 319 P.3d 868, 877 (Div. II 3/4/14) (Penoyar, Hunt, Worswick).