Northern District Court certifies class in misclassification suit against Deloitte & Touche LLP

United States District Court Judge Susan Illston (Northern District of California) certified a class of salaried employees alleging that they were misclassified as exempt by Deloitte & Touche LLP.  Brady v. Deloitte & Touche LLP, 2010 WL 1200045 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 23, 2010).  The class consists of salaried employees in the audit line of service but who were not licensed accountants.  The Court identified common issues of law and fact as follows:

Common questions of law include whether the professional exemption under California law requires a license for accountants, whether accounting is a “learned profession” under California Wage Order 4-2001, and whether the duties of proposed class members would qualify for administrative exception under California law. Common factual questions include whether defendant's standardized policies and procedures prevented the class members from customarily and regularly exercising discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance, whether defendant categorically classified all class members as exempt, whether defendant required class members to work overtime, along with a host of other questions relating to overtime, meal breaks, timekeeping and pay.

Slip op., at 4.  Generally, the Court maintained a sharp delineation between certification questions and merits issues.