In Belaire-West Landscaping, Inc. v. Superior Court, ___ Cal.App.4th ___ (Apr. 9, 2007), the Court of Appeal (Second Appellate District, Division Seven) applied Pioneer Electronics in the context of a wage and hour class action, rejecting the argument that the Supreme Court's decision should apply only to consumer cases, not employment actions:
While it is unlikely that the employees anticipated broad dissemination of their contact information when they gave it to Belaire-West, that does not mean that they would wish it to be withheld from a class action plaintiff who seeks relief for violations of employment laws. Just as the dissatisfied Pioneer customers could be expected to want their information revealed to a class action plaintiff who might obtain relief for the defective DVD players (Pioneer, supra, 40 Cal.4th at pp. 371-372), so can current and former Belaire-West employees reasonably be expected to want their information disclosed to a class action plaintiff who may ultimately recover for them unpaid wages that they are owed.
Slip op. at 8. In fact, the Court of Appeal held that the reasons for making sure class plaintiffs have access to putative class members are even stronger in employment actions than in consumer cases:
The balance of opposing interests here tilts even more in favor of the court’s disclosure order than it did in Pioneer, because at stake here is the fundamental public policy underlying California’s employment laws. “‘[T]he prompt payment of wages due an employee is a fundamental policy of this state.’ [Citation.]” (Phillips v. Gemini Moving Specialists (1998) 63 Cal.App.4th 563, 571.)
Slip op. at 10.