Recent Blog Posts
- California Court of Appeal Reverses Previous Decision and Affirms the Use of Second Meal Period Waivers for Health Care Employers A little more than two years ago, we wrote about how a California Court of Appeal’s decision exposed health care employers to litigation if they relied upon IWC Wage Order 5 for meal period waivers. That decision was Gerard v. Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center (“Gerard I”), where the Court of Appeal concluded that IWC Wage Order 5 was partially invalid to the extent it authorized second meal period waivers on shifts over 12 hours. Much has happened since then.
- California Court of Appeal Requires Separate Compensation for Time Spent During Rest Periods to Hourly Employees Paid on a Commission-Only Basis On February 28, 2017, the California Court of Appeal issued its opinion in Vaquero v. Stoneledge Furniture, LLC. The opinion provides guidance to California employers who pay their hourly employees on a commission basis but do not pay separate compensation for time spent during rest periods.
In the case, the employer kept track of hours worked and paid hourly sales associates on a commission basis where, if an employee failed to earn a minimum amount in commissions – comprising of at... More
- California Court of Appeal Upholds On-Duty Meal Period Agreements for Concrete-Mixer Drivers On November 30, 2016, the California Court of Appeal issued its opinion in Driscoll v. Granite Rock Company. The opinion provides guidance to California employers who enter into on-duty meal period agreements with their employees.
In Driscoll, the trial court had certified a class of approximately 200 concrete-mixer drivers who alleged they were not provided off-duty meal periods pursuant to California law. Those claims proceeded to a bench trial and the trial court found in favor of the employer. The employees... More
- Employers Must Continually Navigate a Minimum-Wage Patchwork Across America Perhaps in response to protests brought by employees and their advocates in recent years, states, counties, and cities across America have been increasing their minimum wage in piecemeal fashion. Few employers are fortunate enough to need worry about only one minimum wage—the federal minimum wage that is the floor below which employers may not go (unless an employer is not covered under the FLSA). Most large employers that operate in multiple states must now navigate a minimum-wage patchwork in which... More
- Cities of Santa Monica, Pasadena, and San Diego Pass New Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave Laws Kevin Sullivan
The cities of Santa Monica, Pasadena, and San Diego have each recently passed ordinances increasing the minimum wage effective July 1, 2016. And two of them have passed ordinances providing for paid sick leave beyond that required by California state law.
The City of Santa Monica has passed a new ordinance providing for a city-wide minimum wage of $10.50 beginning July 1, 2016, $12.00 beginning July 1, 2017, and $13.25 beginning July 1, 2018, $14.25 beginning July 1, 2019,... More
- California Minimum Wage Increases Will Affect Exempt Salaries, Too Kevin Sullivan
On March 31, 2016, the California legislature passed a bill that will gradually increase the state minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2022. Governor Jerry Brown is expected to sign the bill on April 4, 2016. This increase will impact employers statewide. Not only will it affect the wages of many non-exempt employees, but it will also result in an increase in the minimum salary paid to employees who qualify for most overtime exemptions.
The bill calls for the... More
- Supreme Court Approves Use of Statistical Evidence in Affirming $5.8 Million Employee Victory in Class Action Against Tyson Foods On March 22, 2016, the United States Supreme Court issued its much anticipated decision in Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo, a donning and doffing case in which a class of employees had been awarded $2.9 million following a 2011 jury trial that relied on statistical evidence. (A subsequent liquidated damages award brought the total to $5.8 million.)
In a 6-2 opinion, the Supreme Court affirmed that award. While the Supreme Court’s decision may not have been the outcome many were expecting, the... More
- New California Law Permitting Employers To Correct Some Defects In Wage Statements Unlikely To Lead To A Significant Decrease In PAGA Lawsuits
On October 2, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1506, insulating employers from Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”)lawsuits based on employee wage statements if employers cure certain defects in the wage statements within 33 days of being put on notice of them.
The law is being celebrated by some as a major development that will significantly reduce the number of PAGA lawsuits filed against California employers. Unfortunately, there may be a bit of a misunderstanding about what the new law does... More
- Ninth Circuit Addresses Whether California Employers Need to Reimburse Employees for Non-Slip Safety Shoes On June 18, 2015, the Ninth Circuit issued an unpublished opinion in Lemus v. Denny’s, Inc. The opinion provides guidance to California employers that require their employees to wear non-slip shoes as a condition of employment.
California law generally requires that an employer must reimburse employees for “necessary expenditures.” However, not all expenses are reimbursable.
In addressing Denny’s requirement that employees wear non-slip black shoes for which they are not reimbursed, the Court noted that, under California law, a “‘restaurant employer must only... More
- U.S. Supreme Court to Review Tyson Foods Donning and Doffing Decision On June 8, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court granted Tyson Foods’ petition for review of the Eighth Circuit’s decision affirming the district court’s class and collective certification of a donning and doffing case under what Tyson Foods has described as “seriously flawed procedures.” While it does not appear that the Supreme Court’s review will deal directly with the standards for donning and doffing – i.e., the practice of employees putting on and taking off their uniforms and/or personal protective equipment... More