Farm workers filled the California Supreme Court on Tuesday to hear arguments in a case about unpaid wages that could affect millions of low-paid employees in unrelated professions across the business spectrum.

The court is being asked to define what constitutes an employer within the meaning of state Industrial Welfare Commission wage orders. In the case at hand, farm workers contend that two companies that market and sell strawberries fall within that meaning and are liable for the unpaid wages of about 180 berry pickers after the independent contractor who hired them became insolvent.

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