In a last minute whirlwind of activity by California’s Legislature, a significant number of employment-related bills have now made their way to Governor Newsom’s desk and await their fate. Below are highlights of some of the bills that may affect California employers, should Governor Newsom sign them into law.

Continue Reading What’s on Deck With Governor Newsom? Employment-Related Bills That May Soon Impact California Employers

An employee in California has two primary options to pursue a claim for the enforcement of minimum wage and overtime pay rights. The employee may seek judicial relief by filing an ordinary civil action. Alternatively, the employee can initiate an administrative action with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE). In Elsie Seviour-Iloff v. LaPaille, the California Court of Appeal set forth multiple important holdings expanding the scope and potential liability available to employees pursuing administrative relief for wage claims with the DLSE.

Continue Reading Expanded Limitations Period and Individual Liability for Employers Facing Labor Commissioner Hearings

The California Court of Appeal in Meda v. AutoZone, Inc. recently reversed a trial court’s finding that an employer demonstrated it “provided” seats to its employees as a matter of law under California’s suitable seating requirement. This rule stems from subdivision 14(A) of the Wage Orders,[1] which provides that California employers must provide suitable seats to employees “when the nature of the work reasonably permits the use of seats.” In Kilby v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc., 63 Cal. 4th 1 (2016), the California Supreme Court set forth the fact-intensive framework and multiple factors in analyzing whether the “nature of the work reasonably permits the use of seat,” triggering the employer’s obligation to provide suitable seats. However, no published California authority had considered what steps employers must take to “provide” seats under subdivision 14(A).[2]

Continue Reading Are You Sitting Down for This? California Court of Appeal Provides Further Guidance on Suitable Seating Claims

On June 13, 2022, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held in Johnson v. WinCo Foods Holdings, Inc, et al. that class members who were not yet employed by WinCo were not entitled to compensation for the time required to take a pre-employment drug test, nor was WinCo required to cover the travel expenses associated with undergoing the test.

Continue Reading Time Is Not Always Money: Ninth Circuit Holds That Pre-Employment Drug Testing Is Not Compensable Under California Law

On July 13, 2022, San Francisco’s amended Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance (FFWO) goes into effect.  All employers who conduct business and have employees working in the City and County of San Francisco or employees who telework, will need to comply with the FFWO.  It gives employees the right to request “flexible or predictable work arrangements” to assist with caregiving responsibilities.  The amendment creates significant changes to the existing FFWO – it enlarges the scope of an employer’s obligation under the ordinance, while also making it easier for employees to obtain modified schedule arrangements so they can effectively work and perform their caregiving responsibilities with relative ease.  Covered employers should take note of these changes to avoid scrutiny from the San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE) and costlier penalties.

Continue Reading Reminder: San Francisco’s Family Friendly Workplace Amended Ordinance Takes Effect July 2022

On May 23, 2022, in Naranjo v. Spectrum Security Services, Inc., P.3d (2022), the California Supreme Court issued an important wage-and-hour decision.  In Naranjo, the Court held that meal break premiums that an employer pays to an employee for missed, late, or short meal breaks constitute wages.  Consequently, an employer must report those premium payments on an employee’s wage statement pursuant to Labor Code section 226 and must promptly pay any owed premiums when an employee terminates employment or face waiting time penalties under Labor Code section 203.  Naranjo also concluded that the California Constitution’s default prejudgment interest rate of seven percent applies to calculating the prejudgment interest on claims for meal and rest break premiums.

Continue Reading California Supreme Court Holds Meal Period Premiums Are “Wages” and May Trigger Wage Statement and Waiting Time Penalties

On May 2, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”) granted an employer’s petition for review to determine whether highly compensated employees are entitled to overtime compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) if they are paid on a daily rate and not on a salary basis.
Continue Reading SCOTUS to Determine Whether Highly Compensated Employees Are Entitled to Overtime Pay

In a recent opinion in Hill v. Walmart Inc., the Ninth Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of Walmart on Hill’s claim for waiting time penalties under Labor Code section 203, finding there was a good-faith dispute about whether Hill was properly classified as an independent contractor of Walmart.
Continue Reading Good Faith Dispute Over Employment Relationship Allows Walmart to Escape Waiting Time Penalties

On February 7, 2022 a California Court of Appeal issued its decision in Hutcheson v. The Superior Court of Alameda County (UBS Financial Services, Inc.).  The case addresses the relation back doctrine in the context of a Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (the “PAGA”) lawsuit, and will have important consequences for PAGA cases moving forward.
Continue Reading Employers May Face an Expanded Liability Period in PAGA Suits Under the Relation Back Doctrine

On February 18, 2022, the California Court of Appeal issued its decision in Jill LaFace v. Ralphs Grocery Company, __ Cal. App. 5th __ (2022), that provides important guidance in two areas. First, the Court made clear that plaintiffs asserting a claim under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) are not entitled to a jury trial. In addition, the Court affirmed the lower court’s ruling rejecting the plaintiff’s suitable seating claim and found that an employee cannot create a “lull in operation” to trigger the provision of a seat by remaining idle instead of performing other expected job duties.

Continue Reading California Court of Appeal Makes Clear that PAGA Plaintiffs are not Entitled to a Jury Trial and Provides Helpful Guidance on Suitable Seating Claims

On September 27, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez’s Assembly Bill 1003 into law.  This new legislation establishes that intentional theft of wages or tips by employers is punishable as grand theft.  The law takes effect on January 1, 2022.

Continue Reading New California Law Imposes Harsh Penalties for Employers Committing Intentional Wage Theft