In the meal-and-rest-break case that led to a recent $172 million award against Wal-Mart in Alameda County, for example, the court considered DLSE opinion letters submitted by lawyers on both sides.
But Jessica Grant, one of the plaintiff lawyers and a [principal] at The Furth Firm, says the judge relied on his own interpretation.
"Perhaps, in the past, the courts might have given a little more weight to the DLSE opinions," she says. "But because of the agency's flip-flops, I think the courts are far less likely to give any credence to the DLSE opinions."
Marjorie Fochtman, a partner at Nixon Peabody, agrees.
"I think that the future direction of wage-and-hour law will be dictated by the courts and not DLSE," she said.