2009 Clay Award in Employment Law

CALIFORNIA LAWYER MAGAZINE announces . . .

2009 Clay Award in Employment Law

Patrik M. Griego

After logging more than 600 hours, Griego secured an award of more than $1 million to compensate a class of about 1,000 rural workers who had bunched and wrapped tulips for market but were misclassified as exempt from overtime pay. Other lawyers had turned down the case, citing the relatively small amount of money at stake in the claims for minimum wages—along with difficulties in representing the clients, most of whom were transient and did not speak English, and many of whom were undocumented. "Every hour of overtime represented $7 a day that they didn't get," says Griego. "To many people, that wouldn't matter much. But for them, it made a big difference."