Washington Supreme Court Rejects Claims Based on Delayed Payment of Wages
The plaintiffs in this wage and hour class action challenged a practice whereby overtime earned during one month would be paid at the end the following month. In this case, corrections officers in Thurston County would submit time sheets for overtime at the end of the month and the wages were paid on the last day of the following month. The court held that the practice did not violate the Washington Minimum Wage Act under a regulation allowing (a) wages for up to the last 7 days of a pay period to be paid on the next regular pay and (b) pay periods to be set by a union agreement (which was the case in Thurston County). The Court also held that the practice did not rise to the level of a “willful” withholding of wages for damages under the Wage Rebate Act, Ch. 49.52 RCW, because the practice was allowed by the union contract and there was a bona fide dispute over whether the wages were due by a certain time. Finally, the Court held that the Wage Payment Act, Ch. 49.48 RCW, applies only in the context of termination and therefore did not apply to the Thurston County situation involving delayed payment of wages. The case is Champagne v. Thurston County. A copy of the case can be found here.