California law has held that “employer” does not include an entity’s agents, and therefore there is no personal liability for Labor Code violations. Reynolds v. Bement (2005) 36 Cal.4th 1075, 1087-88; Jones v. Gregory (2006) 137 Cal.App.4th 798, 805. The California Supreme Court explained in Reynolds that under common law, corporate agents are not personally liable, and that the Labor Code does not provide a definition of employer that would warrant imposing personal liability on corporate officers for non-payment of wages.
The key quotes from the Reynolds court:
“This is true regardless of whether a corporation’s failure to pay such wages, in particular circumstances, breaches only its employment contract or also breaches a tort duty of care.”
“It is ‘well established that corporate agents and employees acting for and on behalf of a corporation cannot be held liable for inducing a breach of the corporation’s contract.’ ”
“And ‘[d]irectors or officers of a corporation do not incur personal liability for torts of the corporation merely by reason of their official position…’ ”