Congratulations! You just won a lawsuit filed by an employee who said you cheated him out of meal breaks. Now, can you get the employee to reimburse your legal fees? No, said the California Supreme Court.
Recent case: When Anthony sued his employer over various wage-and-hour issues, he represented a group of employees with similar claims. Some of the claims were settled. The employer won the break case and demanded that the losing employees reimburse its legal fees.
The Supreme Court refused to order repayment. It said California law was unclear about reimbursement of attorneys’ fees, and worried that allowing the claim would discourage employees from demanding their break rights. It dismissed the reimbursement claim. (Kirby, et al., v. Immoos Fire Protection, No. S185827, Supreme Court of California, 2012)