On July 17, 2023, the California Supreme Court decided an important state law issue raised by the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Viking River Cruises, Inc. v. Moriana, 142 S. Ct. 1906 (2022). Viking River Cruises held that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) requires enforcement of an agreement to arbitrate California Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) claims arising from alleged California Labor Code violations against the named plaintiff, notwithstanding the prior California authority that PAGA claims cannot be “split” into “representative” and “individual” components. In a short paragraph at the end of its decision in Viking River Cruises, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a PAGA plaintiff lacks statutory standing to pursue PAGA claims arising out of alleged Labor Code violations committed against other employees when the claims arising from violations against the named plaintiff have been “pared away” to arbitration. However, because statutory standing is an issue of state law, state courts were not bound by the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation, a point that Justice Sotomayor flagged in a concurrence. In Adolph v. Uber Techs., Inc., No. S274671, 2023 WL 4553702 (2023), the California Supreme Court disagreed with the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of PAGA’s standing requirement and held that a PAGA plaintiff retains standing to sue for alleged Labor Code violations committed against non-party employees when the claims arising from alleged violations against the plaintiff have been compelled to arbitration.Continue Reading California Supreme Court Clarifies PAGA Standing When “Individual PAGA Claims” Have Been Compelled to Arbitration

On July 11, 2023, the California Court of Appeal in Thai v. IBM held that whether an employer is obligated to reimburse expenses incurred by an employee working from home turns on whether the expenses were a direct consequence of the discharge of the employee’s job duties, not on whether the expenses were directly caused by the employer. This case is important for all employers whose workforce suddenly began working from home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and employers who continue to permit employees to work from home today.Continue Reading California Court of Appeal Clarifies Employer’s Obligation to Reimburse Expenses Depends on Whether They Were a Direct Consequence of Job Duties, Not Proximately Caused by Employer

Many California employers may be facing another minimum wage increase on July 1st. Earlier this year, California’s minimum wage was increased to $15.50 for all employers. However, local entities (like cities and counties) are allowed to establish a higher minimum wage rate for employees working within their jurisdiction. Starting on July 1, 2023, a number of localities will raise their minimum wage.Continue Reading July 1, 2023 Minimum Wage Increases in California Counties and Municipalities

On December 29, 2022, the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (“PUMP”) was signed into law. PUMP further amends the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) by extending protections for employees who need to express breast milk at work. PUMP broadens the available remedies for violations and extends employee coverage requirements. The U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division (the “DOL”) recently issued guidance on PUMP’s requirements.Continue Reading The Department of Labor Issues Guidance for Employers Concerning the PUMP Act

As we wrote about previously here, in October 2022, the Sixth District of the California Court of Appeal in Camp v. Home Depot U.S.A., Inc., 84 Cal.App.5th 638 (2022), ignored a decade of precedent and found Home Depot’s total time rounding for its non-exempt employees was unlawful. In so holding, the court held, “if an employer, as in this case, can capture and has captured the exact amount of time an employee has worked during a shift, the employer must pay the employee for ‘all the time’ worked.” The court rejected at least half a dozen prior appellate opinions and instead focused on carefully selected passages from the California Supreme Court’s holding in Troester v. Starbucks, 5 Cal.5th 829 (2018) and Donohue v. AMN, 11 Cal.5th 58 (2021). In Troester, the Supreme Court held the federal de minimis doctrine did not apply in California, and employees must be paid for all time worked, even during activities that occur regularly but take only a few minutes per day before clocking in (e.g., undergoing a bag check). In Donohue, the Supreme Court rejected time rounding for 30-minute meal periods, although it did not address whether rounding of clock punches for in and out times when shifts begin and end was improper. Continue Reading Home Depot Files Opening Brief in California Supreme Court Case Set to Determine Validity of Time Clock Rounding

California’s Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (“PAGA”) allows employees to act as an “agent” of the State of California and recover civil penalties for violations of the Labor Code through a civil action filed on behalf of themselves and other current or former employees. In Viking River Cruises, Inc. v. Moriana, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Federal Arbitration Act partially preempted a California rule prohibiting employers from requiring their employees to enter into pre-dispute arbitration agreements that contractually waived the right to assert “representative” claims under PAGA. Viking River held that while California could validly prohibit pre-dispute arbitration agreements effecting “wholesale waivers” of PAGA claims, the Federal Arbitration Act preempts any rule against requiring employees to arbitrate their “individual” PAGA claims.Continue Reading Fording Viking River, Another California Court of Appeal Holds That PAGA Plaintiffs Maintain Standing to Pursue “Representative” Claims Even if Compelled to Arbitrate “Individual” Claims

The City of Los Angeles’ Fair Work Week Ordinance will take effect on April 1, 2023. The Ordinance, which was unanimously passed by the Los Angeles City Council in November 2022, requires retail employers in the City of Los Angeles to provide employees at least 14 days’ advance notice of their work schedules and to compensate employees in the event of certain schedule changes. You can read our prior blog article on the Los Angeles Fair Work Week Ordinance here.Continue Reading UPDATED: The City of Los Angeles’ Fair Work Week Ordinance Will Take Effect April 1, 2023

On February 2, 2023, the California Court of Appeal issued an important follow-up decision to the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Viking River Cruises, Inc. v. Moriana, U.S. —, 142 S. Ct. 1906 (2022). Galarsa v. Dolgen California, LLC, — Cal. Rptr. 3d — , 2023 WL 2212196 (2023),addresses whether a plaintiff alleging claims under the California Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (PAGA) retains standing to assert claims premised on California Labor Code violations suffered by other employees when the claims arising from alleged violations suffered by the plaintiff are compelled to arbitration. The Court of Appeal ordered Galarsa published on February 24, 2023, making the decision binding on state trial courts for the time being.Continue Reading California Court of Appeal Holds That a PAGA Plaintiff Maintains Standing to Assert Representative Claims Even When Individual Claims Are Compelled to Arbitration

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (“FLSA”) created the right to a minimum wage and overtime pay. The FLSA also provides exemptions to overtime pay requirements for certain employees. Under the “bona fide executive” exemption, “highly compensated employees” are exempt from overtime if performing at least one qualifying job duty. However, on February 22, 2023, the United States Supreme Court, in its 6-3 decision in Helix Energy Solution Group, Inc. v. Hewitt, clarified that highly compensated employees paid on a “day-rate” do not qualify for this exemption because a day-rate does not satisfy the salary basis test.Continue Reading Supreme Court Clarifies a “Day-Rate” Does Not Meet the FLSA “Salary Basis” Test, Even for Highly Compensated Employees

The Third Circuit is expected to soon make a decision as to whether student-athletes can be considered university “employees” under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). But its interpretation of the law might reverberate beyond the confines of college sports and could implicate whether unpaid student interns must also be treated as employees.Continue Reading What the Third Circuit’s Looming Decision Regarding Whether College Athletes Can Constitute “Employees” Will Mean for Universities and Employers of Unpaid Student Interns