Class Action Against Sun Microsystems Alleging Misclassification of Technical Writers as Exempt Employees Warrants Class Action Treatment California State Trial Court Holds
On May 13, 2008, the California Superior Court for the County of Santa Clara entered an order granting plaintiff’s motion to certify a class action lawsuit against Sun Microsystems and SeeBeyond Technology. Hoenemier v. Sun Microsystems, Inc.,, Santa Clara Superior Court Case No. Case No.: 106CV-071531 (May 13, 2008). The class action had been filed on behalf of “All persons who are or have been employed by Defendant Sun Microsystems Inc., as a Technical Writer 1 through 5, and/or by SeeBeyond Technology Corporation, as a Technical Writer or Senior Technical Writer, in the State of California during the period commencing four years from the filing of this action, September 21, 2002, to final judgment (‘Class Period’).” Several news reports characterize this class action certification action as the first time a class action had been certified on behalf of technical writers. Technical writers are generally understood to be exempt from overtime laws; the class action, however, seeks compensation for “overtime, missed meal periods, and related penalties.” Interestingly, the trial court ordered that an additional class representative be named as a party-plaintiff, “preferably a current employee.” A copy of the court’s order certifying the lawsuit as a class action may be found here.