Judge Expands Class of Long Beach City College Part-Time Staff Lawsuit Over LBCC Failure to Pay Minimum Wage

Case Brought by Two Adjunct Faculty Now Applies to Hundreds More

LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled Tuesday that a lawsuit brought by two part-time instructors against the Long Beach Community College District  over its failure to pay part-time staff a minimum wage for required work can now proceed as a certified class action lawsuit. This ruling expands the class represented in the suit, paving the way to include more than 900 other impacted adjunct faculty.

The suit was originally filed in April 2022 by Visual Arts Department instructors Karen Roberts and Seija Rohkea. In that complaint they alleged that the College violated state and federal minimum wage laws by failing to compensate part-time instructors for all required work outside of lecture hours, including grading, class and syllabi preparation, administrative duties, and student office hours. LBCC adjunct faculty have been compensated only for their actual time teaching a class, an issue that the adjunct faculty’s union (Certificated Hourly Instructors, or CHI) has attempted to have the College address at the bargaining table time and time again without success.

“I’m relieved and excited,” said plaintiff Roberts about the ruling. “I deeply appreciate that the judge took into account all we do as adjunct faculty.”

The suit is seeking backpay plus interest, missing retirement system contributions for unpaid wages, a court declaration and injunction requiring LBCC to pay its part-time faculty for all hours worked, and any other penalties available under law.

Roberts was joined at the downtown Los Angeles courthouse by supporters, including Community College Association (CCA) President Eric Kaljumagi, CCA Vice President Randa Wahbe, CCA Higher Ed Director DeWayne Shaeffer, and Long Beach City College Faculty Association Suzanne Engelhardt.

“We are in solidarity with our part-time faculty,” said Engelhardt. “I’m very happy with Judge Rice’s consideration that this additional work and class preparation is important. We look forward to this case moving forward and to our colleagues getting the pay they deserve.”

Judge Stuart M. Rice did not yet set a trial date, ordering the parties to confer about issues including class notification, possible mediation, or settlement negotiation. Both sides will update the judge on June 25.


The 310,000-member California Teachers Association is affiliated with the 3 million-member National Education Association.