Livadas v. Bradshaw, 512 U.S. 107, 5 (1994)

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Cite as: 512 U. S. 107 (1994)

Opinion of the Court

Store Contract, United Food & Commercial Workers Union, Local 373, AFL-CIO, Solano and Napa Counties 18.2, 18.3 (Mar. 1, 1989-Feb. 29, 1992) (Food Store Contract).2 When notified of her discharge, Livadas demanded immediate payment of wages owed her, as guaranteed to all California workers by state law, see Cal. Lab. Code Ann. 201 (West 1989),3 but her store manager refused, referring to the company practice of making such payments by check mailed from a central corporate payroll office. On January 5, 1990, Livadas received a check from Safeway, in the full amount owed for her work through January 2.

On January 9, 1990, Livadas filed a claim against Safeway with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE or Division), asserting that under 203 of the Labor Code the company was liable to her for a sum equal to three days' wages, as a penalty for the delay between discharge and the date when payment was in fact re-2 Section 18.1 of the collective-bargaining agreement defines a "grievance" as a "dispute . . . involving or arising out of the meaning, interpretation, application or alleged violation" of the agreement.

Section 18.8 provides that "[i]n the case of a direct wage claim . . . which does not involve an interpretation of any of the provisions of this Agreement, either party may submit such claim for settlement to either the grievance procedure provided for herein or to any other tribunal or agency which is authorized and empowered to effect such a settlement."

3 California Labor Code 201 provides in pertinent part: "If an employer discharges an employee, the wages earned and unpaid at the time of discharge are due and payable immediately." It draws no distinction between union-represented employees and others.

Under another provision of California law, Labor Code 219, the protections of 201 (and of other rules governing the frequency and form of wage payments) "can [not] in any way be contravened or set aside by private agreement, whether written, oral, or implied," although employers are free to pay wages more frequently, in greater amounts, or at an earlier date than ordained by these state rules; cf. 204.2 (executive, administrative, and professional employees may negotiate through collective bargaining for pay periods different from those required by state law).

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