According to the Courthouse News Service, California companies are required to pay overtime to employees who work more than 40 hours in a week, unless they qualify for exemptions given to executives, professionals and administrators.
The news source reports that both former and current unlicensed accountants in six of the company's California offices—approximately 2,000 individuals—claimed that their basic audit work should not be included under any of the exemptions.
Senior US District Judge Lawrence Karlton reportedly granted the plaintiffs partial summary judgment, citing the fact that unlicensed accountants were not eligible for the professional exemption. Additionally, the judge said that the company was unable to demonstrate that the work was performed with only some supervision, which is a requirement for the administrator exemption, according to the news provider.
Still, however, a San Francisco federal appeals court ultimately decided to reverse the decision, saying that the question at issue needs to be resolved by a jury.
"Given... the numerous factual disputes in the record, the district court should not have disposed of this issue at summary judgment," wrote Judge Richard Tallman. "Both parties introduced a wealth of evidence about the nature and scope of PwC's supervision over plaintiffs. A jury should evaluate credibility and weigh this extensive conflicting evidence."
PwC spokeswoman Caroline Nolan told Reuters that the firm was satisfied that the appeals court decided to let the case go to trial.
"The firm greatly values these employees and considers their work an integral part of PwC's success," Nolan said.
READ MORE CALIFORNIA OVERTIME LEGAL NEWS
The PwC case is not the only California overtime issue to be decided in court, as the state's Supreme Court recently ruled that non-California residents who work for companies in the state are protected under the state's overtime laws when they are on business trips to The Golden State.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the court said that the ruling would actually benefit in-state workers, many of whom may have been replaced by temporary employees from outside of California.
"Not to apply California law would also encourage employers to substitute lower-paid temporary employees from other states for California employees, thus threatening California's legitimate interest in expanding the job market," wrote Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar.