As a matter of law, Plaintiffs’ cannot recovery punitive damages for Labor Code violations. Brewer v. Premier Golf Properties (2008) 168 Cal.App.4th 1243, 1252. In Brewer, the court stated:
We are convinced, both by application of the “new right-exclusive remedy” doctrine and under more general principles that bar punitive damages awards absent breach of an obligation not arising from con-tract, punitive damages are not recoverable when liability is premised solely on the employer’s violation of the Labor Code statutes that regulate meal and rest breaks, pay stubs, and minimum wage laws.
Ibid. In Brewer, the plaintiff sought damages for pay stub violations, unpaid minimum wages, unpaid overtime, and meal and rest break wages. The court explained that Brewer’s claims for Labor Code violations arose from rights based on her employment contract, and therefore she was not entitled to recover punitive damages. Despite the clear holding in Brewer, I still routinely see punitive damages asked for in wage and hour cases.