Archives: Wage and Hour

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Closing the Unequal Pay Gap: California Releases Guidance to Employers on Complying with the California Fair Pay Act

Since passing the California Fair Pay Act (“CFPA”) on October 6, 2015, California has remained a trailblazer in its efforts to address and decrease gender pay inequity. The CFPA requires all employers pay employees performing “substantially similar work” the same wage regardless of gender, ethnicity or race. The CFPA also requires employers to provide the pay scale … Continue Reading

New California Law Creates Narrow Rest Break Exemption at Petroleum Facilities

On September 20, 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 2605. This new law provides that unionized employees at petroleum facilities who hold safety-sensitive positions are exempt from the requirement that employees be relieved of all duties during rest periods. The bill went into effect immediately and will remain in effect until … Continue Reading

To Successfully Oppose Class Certification, You Have To Do The CSI

Six years after the California Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Brinker v. Superior Court (2012) 53 Cal. 4th 1004, virtually every California employer understands the rules concerning an employer’s obligations regarding meal periods.  The court gave California employers a “Big Win,” ruling that employers need only provide and not ensure meal periods.  Less publicized was … Continue Reading

Taco Bell’s Prohibition on Employees “Heading for the Border” With Discounted Meals Does Not Violate California Meal Break Law, Ninth Circuit Rules

Affirming a district court order dismissing a putative class action, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that Taco Bell’s policy of requiring employees to eat employer-discounted meals in the restaurant does not convert the meal period into “on duty” time such that the meal period becomes compensable under California law. Rodriguez v. Taco … Continue Reading

California Clarifies Ambiguous Language of Salary History Ban

California has enacted new legislation aimed at clarifying its law banning an employer from inquiring about a job applicant’s salary history information. Assembly Bill 168 (codified as Labor Code Section 432.3) prohibits employers from seeking salary history of applicants for employment. Designed to eradicate the wage gap, AB 168 also requires employers to provide applicants, … Continue Reading

What Employers Need to Know about San Francisco’s Salary History Ordinance

San Francisco’s “Parity in Pay Ordinance,” prohibiting employers from inquiring about a job applicant’s salary history, took effect on July 1, 2018. This post discussed significant provisions of the ordinance as well as key considerations for employers to ensure compliance with the new regulation. Click here to read our full article regarding San Francisco’s salary … Continue Reading

Court of Appeal Affirms “Waiting Time” Penalties Where Employer Unaware of Wage Law Amendment

In its May 24, 2018 opinion in the matter of Diaz v. Grill Concepts Services, Inc. (Case no. B280846, 2nd Dist.), the California Court of Appeal shed further light on the standard to impose so-called “waiting time penalties” on employers who neglect to pay wages due upon discharge or resignation.  Diaz affirmed the maxim that … Continue Reading

Does The De Minimis Defense Apply To California Labor Code Claims?

The California Supreme Court recently heard the case of Troester v. Starbucks Corporation which could significantly increase employers’ exposure to claims by hourly paid employees for small pre-shift and post-shift tasks that are currently treated as insignificant and not compensable. The de minimis doctrine, an established defense under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), permits … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Applies “ABC” Test When Assessing Independent Contractor Status

The California Supreme Court, in Dynamex Operations v. Superior Court, held that for purposes of claims under the California Wage Orders “engage, suffer or permit to work” determines employee status, thus requiring a defendant who disputes that a worker is an employee (rather than an independent contractor) to prove (A) the worker is free from … Continue Reading

Employers Cannot Consider Prior Salary History to Justify Wage Gap under the Federal Equal Pay Act

On April 9, 2018, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Rizo v. Yovino, holding that employers cannot consider an employee’s prior salary either alone or in combination with other factors to justify salary differentials between men and women for the purposes of the federal Equal Pay Act. Aileen Rizo was hired … Continue Reading

Balancing Client Needs with Employee Needs

A decision out of the Northern District of California serves as a reminder that service industries need to carefully balance their commitment to client care with wage and hour obligations. A case manager at a large medical facility filed a class action claim under the California Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) against the facility for … Continue Reading

Calculating Overtime Value of Flat-Sum Bonus Must Be Based on Actual Non-Overtime Hours Worked, California High Court Holds

The California Supreme Court has held that, under state law, when an employee earns a flat sum bonus during a pay period, the overtime pay rate will be calculated using the actual number of non-overtime hours worked by the employee during the pay period. Alvarado v. Dart Container Corp., 2018 Cal. LEXIS 1123 (Cal. Mar. … Continue Reading

California Court of Appeals Holds Labor Code § 558 Claims Are Indivisible Claims and Not Arbitrable

In Lawson v. ZB, N.A. (2018) 18 Cal.App.5th 705, California’s Fourth District Court of Appeal recently ruled that the two elements comprising damages under Labor Code § 558 – (a) underpaid wages and (b) denominated assessments – are indivisible. Because a claim under Labor Code § 558 is indivisible and it is a civil penalty … Continue Reading

Exemption, Not Pre-Emption: California Federal Court Clarifies Meal and Rest Break Rules May Be Exempt From Labor Code Enforcement For Employers With Valid Collective Bargaining Agreements

In a recent decision, Judge Philip S. Gutierrez of the United States District Court for the Central District of California clarified an available avenue for employers with collective bargaining agreements (“CBAs”) to combat the growing trend of wage and hour lawsuits in California. In granting defendant Kiewit Infrastructure West Co.’s (“Kiewit”) motion for summary judgment … Continue Reading

It’s Cut and Dry: Ninth Circuit Adopts “Primary Beneficiary” Analysis, Concludes Cosmetology and Hair Design Students Were Interns, Not Employees

Former students at a cosmetology and hair design school with locations in California and Nevada were interns and not employees entitled to wages under the FLSA or state law, the Ninth Circuit has held.  Benjamin v. B&H Education, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 25672 (9th Cir. Dec. 19, 2017).  To read more please visit this article … Continue Reading

California to Hold Direct Contractors Jointly Liable for Subcontractor’s Unpaid Wages and Fringe Benefits

Beginning with contracts entered into on or after January 1, 2018, direct (general) contractors in California will be held jointly liable for their subcontractors’ unpaid employee wages, fringe benefit or other benefit payments or contributions under Assembly Bill 1701, signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on October 14th. This joint liability requirement is codified…… … Continue Reading

Is Your Piece Rate Plan Up To Date?

A piece rate exists where an employee is paid a fixed amount for each unit produced or action performed. Industries that commonly use piece rates include agriculture, automobile repair, trucking, manufacturing, and call centers. A new law went into effect this year requiring employers to provide additional pay for rest periods and recovery periods to … Continue Reading

Court May Make Reasonable Inferences about Employee’s Exempt, Non-Exempt Activities

A trier of fact can make reasonable inferences about employees’ duties to determine status for overtime pay under California labor law, the California Court of Appeal has ruled, affirming the trial court’s holding. Batze v. Safeway, Inc.,  No. B258732 (Cal. Ct. App. Apr. 4, 2017). A group of assistant store managers claimed they should have … Continue Reading

The City of Los Angeles Quietly Updates Its Rules and FAQs Regarding the Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

The sick leave landscape is constantly evolving, and the City of Angeles is no exception to that rule. This past month the City of Los Angeles Office of Wage Standards  revised its rules and regulations as well the FAQs regarding its Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave Ordinance. Learn what that means for employers here at … Continue Reading

California Court of Appeal Clarifies Wage Statement Requirements for Use of Unique Employee Numbers, Hourly Rates for PTO or Vacation

The California Court of Appeal has held that: (1) the use of payroll service provider generated unique employee file numbers on employee wage statements, in lieu of the employer’s internal employee identification number or last four digits of employee social security numbers, is legally permissible under California law; and (2) employers are not required to … Continue Reading

Separate Compensation for Rest Breaks and Non-Productive Time Required for Non-Exempt Commissioned Employees

Non-exempt commissioned employees must be paid separately and specifically for rest breaks and non-productive time, a California appellate court has ruled.  The court found that a compensation plan that does not pay employees directly for rest periods undermines the public policy of encouraging employees to take their rest breaks.  In Vaquero, et al. v. Stoneledge … Continue Reading
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