California Supreme Court allows SF Giants security guard to pursue pay claim

PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

SAN FRANCISCO – A security guard who works for the San Francisco Giants won the right from the California Supreme Court Thursday to have a pay dispute decided under state labor law rather than mandatory arbitration.

The state high court in San Francisco unanimously ruled that security guard George Melendez could pursue his claim of a violation of the state Labor Code in San Francisco Superior Court.

The panel rejected the Giants’ argument that the case was governed by federal law and the guards’ union contract, which requires arbitration of disputes.

Justice Ming Chin wrote, “It is up to state courts, not an arbitrator, to interpret state labor law standards applicable to all workers.”

Melendez has worked since 2005 at the Giants’ Oracle Park during the baseball season and intermittently at off-season events there.

The state Supreme Court did not decide the outcome of the underlying dispute about the timing of end-of-season paychecks, and instead left the issue to be determined in Superior Court.

In the underlying case, Melendez claims the termination of his work at the end of each season amounts to a discharge or layoff, and is subject to a labor law provision requiring immediate payment.

The Giants contend that Melendez has an ongoing employment relationship that is therefore subject to a different provision requiring payment within two weeks.

Melendez’s lawsuit seeks to be certified as a class action on behalf of all stadium employees.

Melendez’s lawyer Dennis Moss said, “It’s a good ruling. It shows that collective bargaining can’t undermine rights created by the Legislature.”

Giants General Counsel Jack Bair stated, “Today’s ruling does not speak to the merits of the underlying case, but simply addresses whether the case should be arbitrated or litigated in court.”

Both attorneys said they feel confident their side will win when the case goes back to Superior Court.

Copyright � 2019 by Bay City News, Inc. — Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reusewithout the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

blog comments powered by Disqus