The trial court correctly granted Equilon (a Shell distribution company) summary judgment in this wage and hour action brought by an employee of one of the gas stations operated by an independent franchisee.  The contracts between Equilon and the franchisee left the latter fully in charge of its employees.  While Equilon required the franchisee to perform various tasks, it didn’t tell the franchisee how to perform them or direct the franchisee’s employees in performing those tasks.  The decision examines each of the three prongs of “employer” status for wage and hour purposes under the IWC’s wage orders: (a) exercising control over the wages, hours, or working conditions, (b) suffering or permitting to work and (c) engaging the employee.  It finds that the undisputed evidence showed that Equilon did none of those three things with respect to the plaintiff franchisee employee.

California Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division 2; April 26, 2018; 2018 Cal. App. LEXIS 366