Demetrio v. Sakuma Brothers, 183 Wn.2d 649, 355 P.3d 258, (2015) (View WELA?s Brief)

This case was brought on behalf of a class of farmworkers who are paid by the bushel or box.? They claimed that the employer?s practice of not paying them during mandatory rest breaks violates the regulation requiring that such breaks be taken ?on the employer?s time.?? They claimed they should be separately paid during rest breaks, at their average hourly piece rate for that week.? The federal court certified questions to the Washington Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of the employees.? The Court ruled that WAC 296-131-020(2) entitles agricultural piece rate workers to be paid for rest breaks at their regular rate of pay.? To calculate a pieceworker’s regular rate, employers must tally the total piece rate earnings and divide those earnings by the hours the pieceworker worked, excluding time spent resting.? The Court rejected the minimum wage as the rate to be paid for rest breaks.? ?If rest breaks are compensated at a lower wage than the pieceworker’s regular rate, there is a strong incentive to miss rest breaks. That result frustrates the entire purpose of WAC 296-131-020(2).?? Dan Johnson and Steve Festor filed the amicus brief for WELA.

View Court?s Opinion: Demetrio v. Sakuma Brothers