California plaintiffs’ lawyers typically bring every type of wage-hour claim they can. Increasingly, however, they have focused on one type of claim – wage statement violations.
As we have previously written about, bringing class and representative actions under California’s Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) alleging that employers did not fully comply with California’s onerous wage statement laws has become a lucrative practice for the plaintiffs’ bar. Given the flurry of litigation, it is beneficial for employers that do business in California to review their wage statements to best ensure compliance.
More than three years after its landmark decision in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, the United States Supreme Court has granted certiorari in Viking River Cruises, Inc. v. Moriana to determine whether Epic Systems extends to arbitration agreements that include waivers of representative actions brought under the California Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA).
Employers with operations in California, who have been plagued by the filing of boilerplate PAGA actions, could be heard to breathe a sigh of relief.
Many people are employed at airports. Of those, many individuals work within the terminals for private companies. Federal law requires that those employees who work in the terminals must go through security checks – just like travelers.
Jesus Cazares was one of those employees, working at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). In bringing a lawsuit against his employer, Host International, Inc. – which operates the Admiral Club at LAX – Cazares alleged that he and his fellow employees were not paid for the time they spent passing through airport security checks en route to their work at the Admiral Club. The district court rejected the notion that such time is compensable under California law and, earlier this month, the Ninth Circuit agreed in Cazares v. Host International, Inc.
A sometimes-overlooked requirement for classifying an employee as exempt from overtime is that, with limited exceptions, the employee must be paid on a “salary basis.”  Indeed, when employers fail to pay their exempt employees on a salary basis, they may be subject to lawsuits alleging exempt misclassification. As such, properly paying employees on a salary basis is critical to classifying employees as exempt.
The General Rule
Among other requirements, in order for an employer to classify an employee as exempt from overtime, the employee generally must be paid on a ...
On July 26, 2018, the California Supreme Court issued its long-awaited opinion in Troester v. Starbucks Corporation, ostensibly clarifying the application of the widely adopted de minimis doctrine to California’s wage-hour laws. But while the Court rejected the application of the de minimis rule under the facts presented to it, the Court did not reject the doctrine outright. Instead, it left many questions unanswered.
And even while it rejected the application of the rule under the facts presented, it did not address a much larger question – whether the highly individualized ...
On July 18, 2018, the Ninth Circuit issued a published opinion in Rodriguez v. Taco Bell Corp., approving Taco Bell’s on-premises meal periods for employees who choose to purchase discounted food.
Like many food services employers, Taco Bell offers discounts on its food to its employees. And it requires that employees consume such food on premises.
In Rodriguez, employees contended that requiring employees to consume discounted meals on premises results in a meal period or unpaid wage violation, arguing that employees must be relieved of all duty and must be permitted to leave the ...
On April 30, 2018, the California Supreme Court issued its long-awaited opinion in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court, clarifying the standard for determining whether workers in California should be classified as employees or as independent contractors for purposes of the wage orders adopted by California’s Industrial Welfare Commission (“IWC”). In so doing, the Court held that there is a presumption that individuals are employees, and that an entity classifying an individual as an independent contractor bears the burden of establishing that such a ...
In November 2017, four convenience store franchisees brought suit in federal court against 7-Eleven, Inc., alleging that they and all other franchisees were employees of 7-Eleven. The case was filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, entitled Haitayan, et al. v. 7-Eleven, Inc., case no. CV 17-7454-JFW (JPRx).
In alleging that they were 7-Eleven’s employees, the franchisees brought claims for violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and the California Labor Code, alleging overtime and expense reimbursement ...
On October 14, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1701, which will make general contractors liable for their subcontractors’ employees’ unpaid wages if the subcontractor fails to pay wages due. The new law will go into effect on January 1, 2018.
Specifically, section 218.7 has been added to the Labor Code. Subdivision (a)(1) provides the following:
For contracts entered into on or after January 1, 2018, a direct contractor making or taking a contract in the state for the erection, construction, alteration, or repair of a building, structure, or other ...
Because of concerns about employee theft, many employers have implemented practices whereby employees are screened before leaving work to ensure they are not taking merchandise with them. While these practices are often implemented in retail stores, other employers use them as well when employees have access to items that could be slipped into a bag or a purse.
Over the last several years, the plaintiffs’ bar has brought a great many class actions and collective actions against employers across the country, alleging that hourly employees are entitled to be paid for the time they ...
As courts continue to address whether and when employers can compel employees to arbitrate their wage-hour claims, the California Court of Appeal has issued a decision in Cortez v. Doty Bros. Equipment Company, No. B275255, ___ Cal. App. 5th ___ (2017), that should be of great help to many California employers with collective bargaining agreements (“CBAs”) that include arbitration provisions.
The United States Supreme Court and multiple California courts have held that a CBA may require arbitration of an employee’s statutory claims only if the CBA includes a “clear and ...
Featured on Employment Law This Week - California health care workers can still waive some breaks.
In February 2015, a California appeals court invalidated an order from the Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) that allowed health care workers to waive certain meal breaks. The court found the order, which allowed the workers to miss one of their two meal periods when working over eight hours, was in direct conflict with the California Labor Code. The state legislature then passed a new law giving the IWC authority to craft exceptions going forward for health care workers. This month ...
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.
After Gerard I was published, the Legislature moved quickly to enact SB 327, which amended Labor Code section 516 to state ...
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 least $12.01 per hour in commission pay in any pay period – then the employee was paid a “draw” ...
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