Employee Overtime Claims – Only Employee Can Recover Attorneys Fees

An employee who sues to recover unpaid overtime is entitled to recover attorney’s fees as well. Such is the rule set forth in section 1194 of the California Labor Code.  But what happens if the employee loses the claim? Can the employer reverse the situation and seek attorney’s fees from the employee?

No. The court of appeal has affirmed that the attorney’s fees rule under section 1194 is a one-way street:  it applies only in favor of the employee. The case is McGann v. United Parcel Service and a complete copy of the court’s opinion is attached.

(Note that this is in contrast to other attorney’s fees statutes, such as California Civil Code section 1717, which makes attorneys’ fees clauses in contracts reciprocal.)

we regularly advise clients about workplace issues. Feel free to contact us if you have a legal question in this area.

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