Legislation-Labor-and-Lettuce.jpg (2149×1159)Harvesting iceberg lettuce or picking grapes from the vine are typical farm jobs in California, but these jobs do not share many parallels with the average American’s desk job. This is why agricultural jobs historically have had their own set of labor laws. The minimum wage, overtime regulations, and minimum age to work laws are often different for agricultural jobs than the rest of the workforce.

Most states exempt agricultural workers from overtime protections but California is leading the movement to change that. In 2016, California governor Jerry Brown signed the A.B. 1066 bill into law that mandates California growers to pay overtime to their farmworkers for any work done in excess of eight hours per day.

The law has outraged many grower associations because they fear the new law will disadvantage California farms who compete against growers out-of-state. Many farmers have threatened to move operations out-of-state or shut down their business altogether.

The new overtime law coupled with the worker shortage brought on by the Trump administration’s hardline stance on immigration has led some growers to switch to crops that are less labor-intensive to reduce payroll costs. Many farmworkers have seen their hours slashed and paychecks shrink.

For a radical change of this magnitude, it is important that everyone involved in the agricultural sector understands the mechanics of the law.

What Does The New Law Actually Change?

Before the law, titled Phase-In Overtime for Agricultural Workers Act of 2016, agricultural workers were only entitled to overtime pay for every hour worked in excess of ten hours a day, sixty hours a week, and for the first eight hours of a 7th consecutive workday.

Over the next several years, the law will phase in new overtime rules for farmworkers. Beginning in 2019, growers must pay their workers 1.5 times their regular wage for every hour worked in excess of fifty-five hours a week or nine and a half hours in a single day.

By 2022, the overtime rules for farm workers will mirror that of desk jobs: any work done in excess of eight hours in a single workday or forty hours in a workweek must be compensated at a rate of 1.5 times their normal wage.

Does The Law Apply To Small Farms?

Yes and no. Growers who employ 25 or fewer workers are allotted a longer time period to adjust to the new pay scale. These farms have until 2025 before they are forced to pay their farmworkers 1.5 times their normal wage for hours in excess of eight per day and forty per week.

Does The Law Apply To Undocumented Farmworkers?

Yes. While undocumented workers may be more hesitant to file complaints for wage violations, they are nonetheless protected by the California Labor Code, including the new overtime laws.

What Happens If A Grower Does Not Pay Overtime According To The Law?

Since the new law creates a several gradual increases in wages over the next four years, it is possible that growers may accidentally or intentionally not update their pay scale in accordance with the law.

An employer who does not pay farmworkers the legal wage for overtime is in violation of the California Labor Code and subject to the criminal penalties therein. Growers are treated the same as any other employer in violation of the Code. Their workers may pursue wage violation suits to collect the money they are owed if they were not paid correctly under the code.

In some circumstances, an employer who violated the California Labor Code may be ordered to reimburse the employee for back pay, interest on that back pay, and attorneys fees.

If you believe you have been paid less than you are entitled to under the California Labor Code or have questions about your rights under the new law, please contact our office. We are a high-performance law firm with years of experience in protecting the rights of workers.

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Lisseth Bayona


Education and Background

I am a Los Angeles native and daughter of Salvadorian immigrants. From an early age, my parents instilled the value of hard work and education in me and my two siblings. Their perseverance enabled each of us to graduate from college and earn professional degrees.

My interest and commitment to workers’ rights have roots in my parents’ experiences as undocumented workers in Los Angeles. Witnessing the challenges they faced inspired me to pursue a career where I can help individuals confronted with similar struggles. To help someone in those moments is very satisfying. I love connecting with people and learning about their stories. I believe that dignity in the workplace is a right of all workers, not a convenience or privilege reserved for employees of a certain race, gender, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Legal Experience

I received my J.D. from the University of Southern California (USC) Gould School of Law. While there, I served as a judicial extern to the Honorable Patrick J. Walsh of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, where I drafted a criminal judicial opinion. Also, while at Gould, I served as an extern for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. As a Criminal Division Extern, I had the opportunity to work closely with a trial team of Assistant U.S. Attorneys on a money laundering case which further sparked my interest in litigation.

Personal Interests

In my free time, I enjoy urban vegetable gardening, traveling, and spending time with my nephew and niece. I also love to spend time at San Onofre Beach learning to surf, although admittedly, I am not very good.



Hallie L. Von Rock

Attorney (SBN 233152)

Education and Background

I moved to the Bay Area from Washington after graduating high school. I had been accepted to UC Berkeley through a program where I could defer for two years while getting my California residency and attending community college, which was significant since I was paying for college on my own. I began working for Randall Aiman-Smith and Reed Marcy in 1996 as an office manager while taking night classes. My first foray into the legal world was soon after starting at the firm when I was ready to transfer to UC Berkeley. Rather than accepting my resident status, the Board of Regents took the position that California residency required a student to be in California “two calendar years.” Randall and Reed took up my case with the same verve as they helped their actual clients and I got the chance to comb through the UC Berkeley library to read their codes and regulations to support my position. In that experience, I learned what is was like to feel helpless against a big organization and then to have dedicated attorneys in my corner to take up my cause.

After a break to pursue my major in art history, I went to UC Hastings College of Law and continued working with Randall and Reed. Having worked together now for over 25 years, we have a unique ability to work collaboratively and finish each other’s sentences. I have strived throughout my career to make a difference in the lives of our clients. At the end of the day, if I am helping someone to get compensation for losses they suffered, then I know that all the work put into a case has been worth it.

Legal Experience

I have extensive experience in civil litigation and class action cases, including conducting discovery and depositions, calculating damages analysis, preparing motions for certification, writing appellate documents, and overseeing claims administration. We have handled several class actions against retailers where plaintiffs claimed they were forced to purchase clothing to wear to work and were not compensated for these purchases, including against Abercrombie & Fitch, Hugo Boss, Armani Exchange, Uniqlo, Dollar Tree, and Ross. Recently, I was trial counsel in a defamation claim against Bank of America on behalf of a former employee who claimed the Bank blacklisted her with future employers. The jury found Bank of America liable, including for punitive damages.

Personal Interests

Aiman-Smith & Marcy has sponsored me in the Boston Marathon and New York Marathon. When I race, I often wear a “Rockstar Ronan” shirt to support research for childhood cancer through The Ronan Thompson Foundation.


University of California, Berkeley, B.A., 1999

Hastings College of the Law, University of California, J.D., 2004

Randall Aiman-Smith

Abogado (SBN 124599)

Aiman-Smith & Marcy. Oakland consumer fraud attorneys.

Educación y antecedentes

Fui afortunado. A pesar de no haber terminado la escuela secundaria o la universidad, pude -aunque con mucho trabajo- ser admitido y sobresalir en una de las mejores escuelas de derecho del país: La Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Berkeley. Mientras estuve allí, tuve el privilegio de ser editor de la California Law Review y miembro del Moot Court Board, asesorando en la redacción de escritos y en la defensa de apelaciones a otros estudiantes. Después de salir de la escuela de derecho, en mis primeros años de práctica, enseñé la escritura legal y la defensa de apelación en la Universidad de California, Hastings College of the Law. También, a lo largo de los años, he sido presentador en eventos de educación legal continua.

Experiencia legal

He sido abogado durante 35 años. He dedicado mi práctica exclusivamente a representar a empleados, consumidores e inversores en los tribunales estatales y federales de primera instancia y en los tribunales de apelación. Me gusta ir a los tribunales por mis clientes y he llevado muchos casos con jurado en los tribunales estatales y federales.

¿Ejemplos? En 2010, fui la abogada principal, junto con los otros abogados del bufete, en el caso Williams v. Union Pacific Railroad donde, después de cuatro años de preparación, el bufete obtuvo un veredicto del jurado de 1.670.000 dólares para una empleada afroamericana. En Rivero v. Surdyka, fui el abogado principal en el juicio y la apelación de un caso de derechos civiles que duró 15 años, incluyendo un juicio completo y tres apelaciones al Noveno Circuito, concluyendo finalmente con una sentencia para los demandantes de más de 2.300.000 dólares. Estos casos ilustran el lema del bufete: compromiso – resultados. Hay que comprometerse con un caso, a veces durante mucho tiempo, para obtener el resultado que el cliente merece.

No siempre ganamos en el juicio. Cuando eso ocurre, el compromiso significa llevar el caso al siguiente nivel y recurrirlo. En el caso Rivero, antes mencionado, eso fue lo que ocurrió: el tribunal desestimó el caso -habíamos perdido- pero apelamos y conseguimos una victoria para nuestros clientes que mantuvimos a través de dos apelaciones más. Desde entonces, el bufete ha conseguido muchas victorias en apelación que reivindican los derechos de los empleados y los consumidores.

A lo largo de los años he sido abogado de los demandantes en numerosos casos individuales y acciones colectivas. Puede sonar cursi, o difícil de creer, pero después de todo este tiempo, y después de todas las grandes experiencias que he tenido, mi parte favorita de ser abogado es cuando consigo dar un cheque a mi cliente.



Facultad de Derecho, Universidad de California, Berkeley, J.D., 1986