This case concerns the lawfulness of defendant Costco Wholesale Corporation’s formula for computing overtime compensation on semi-annual bonuses paid to hourly employees. The trial court determined that defendants’ bonus overtime formula for the class of employees who qualify for the maximum base bonus (plaintiffs) violates California law, and ordered use of a different formula. The court concluded that defendant’s formula violated neither California nor federal law, and reversed the judgment with directions to enter judgment for defendant.
a. The Base Bonus.
Costco pays a formula-based bonus, based on paid hours, to long-term hourly employees. To be eligible for the bonus, paid in April and October, these employees must: (1) have been paid a specified number of hours for continuous service — 8,000 hours (approximately four years) for those hired before March 15, 2004, and 9,200 hours (approximately 4.6 years) for those hired after that date; (2) generally be at the top of their pay scale; and (3) have been employed by defendant on April 1 for the April bonus and October 1 for the October bonus. The maximum semi-annual base bonus amount is $2,000 for those with less than 10 years of service, $2,500 for those with 10 to 14 years of service, $3,000 for those with 15 to 19 years of service, and $3,500 for those with 20 or more years of service.