A California appeals court ruled April 20 that only prevailing plaintiff employees are entitled to attorney fees in an overtime compensation class action. If defendant employers prevail, the court said, absent class members cannot be held liable for the defendant’s fees (Carol Earley, et al. v. Superior Ct. of Los Angeles County, Washington Mutual Bank, real party in interest,, No. B134741, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., 3rd Div.).

Petitioners Carol Earley, Donna Alvarez and Martin Garcia sued their employer, Washington Mutual Bank, alleging the bank had imposed changes in weekly work schedules forcing them to work beyond the standard eight-hour work day; thus, they were entitled to overtime compensation.