Archives: Wage and Hour

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Ninth Circuit Asks California Supreme Court: Is Absence of a Formal Meal and Rest Break Policy a Violation of California Law?

In Brinker Rest. Corp. v. Superior Court (53 Cal. 4th 1004), the California Supreme Court explained that an employer must relieve the employee of all duty for the designated meal period, but need not ensure that the employee does not work. In other words, no policing of meal breaks by the employer is required; and employees … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Dismisses California Wage Claims by Oil Rig Workers, Following High Court Ruling

The Ninth Circuit recently dismissed California minimum wage and overtime claims in a class action brought by drilling platform worker, Brian Newton, against his former employer, Parker Drilling, following the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Parker Drilling Mgmt. Servs. v. Newton, 139 S. Ct. 1881 (2019). In that case, the Supreme Court determined that … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit to Ask California Supreme Court to Decide Retroactivity of ‘ABC’ Test, Withdraws Opinion

Whether California’s recently adopted “ABC” test, used in the employee-versus-independent contractor analysis in cases involving California’s wage orders, must be applied retroactively should be decided by the California Supreme Court, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has decided, withdrawing its controversial May 2, 2019, opinion. Vazquez v. Jan-Pro Franchising … Continue Reading

What’s Left of the De Minimis Doctrine in California? Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals May Soon Decide

Last year, the California Supreme Court held the federal “de minimis” doctrine does not apply to California state law claims for unpaid wages for off-the-clock work allegedly performed on a regularly occurring basis in store closing and related activities. Troester v. Starbucks Corp., 5 Cal. 5th 829. However, the California Supreme Court also noted that … Continue Reading

Looking Back and Looking Forward: Retroactivity and Expansion of the California Independent Contractor Test

In April 2018, the California Supreme Court issued its ruling in Dynamex Operations West v. Superior Court (2018) 4 Cal. 5th 903, 916-17 and set forth the standards for determining independent contractor status for purposes of the California Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders. The Court presumed that a worker is an employee unless he or … Continue Reading

Federal Law Preempts California’s Meal and Rest Break Laws for Commercial Drivers

Judge George H. Wu of the United States District Court for the Central District of California recently dismissed meal and rest break claims brought under the California Labor Code in a class action against motor carrier U.S. Xpress. In Anthony Ayala v. U.S. Xpress Enterprises, Inc. et al, Judge Wu granted U.S. Xpress’ motion for … Continue Reading

Plaintiff Succeeds in Claiming Unpaid Reimbursements for More Than 20,000 Miles

After a one-day bench trial, a sales representative for a security company successfully established that his employer had failed to reimburse him for mileage expenses, using only his odometer reading as the basis to calculate the owed mileage. Plaintiff was a “High Volume Sales Representative,” meaning that he worked almost exclusively in the field making … Continue Reading

Wage Statements May Contain Fictitious Business Names, California Court of Appeal Affirms

While best practices would be to use the employer’s registered name, a recent Court of Appeal opinion has upheld an employer’s use of its fictitious business name in its wage statements. California Labor Code section 226 lists information that must be included in every employee’s wage statement. Pursuant to subsection (a)(8), one piece of information … Continue Reading

Car Wash Employees CLEAN Up with Help of California Department of Labor

The Labor Commissioner fined a Southern-California car wash for more than $2.36 million for alleged wage and hour violations. These fines included both civil penalties and wages owed to employees. This appears to be a continuation of the agency’s enforcement actions against commercial car washes from 2012 and 2015. In addition to fining the company, the … Continue Reading

Assembly Bill Codifying Dynamex Moves Forward, with Notable Exemptions

On March 26, 2019, proposed Assembly Bill 5, which would codify the California Supreme Court’s controversial Dynamex decision, was amended to exempt certain types of licensed workers. Just as noteworthy as the types of workers identified as exempt from the standard are the types of employees who were not identified. For example, the exemption does … Continue Reading

Fishing for a Lawsuit: Tips and Tricks for Personnel Files and Pre-Litigation Records Requests

If you have ever received a pre-litigation records request, then you may already know that such a request tends to be a harbinger of a lawsuit on the horizon. Plaintiff’s lawyers regularly use Labor Code provisions to obtain pay and personnel records, before a lawsuit has been filed. While employees (or their representative) are undoubtedly … Continue Reading

Teamsters Challenges Federal Agency Decision on California Break Rules on Interstate Truck Drivers

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 2785 has filed a petition for review to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) determination that California’s meal and rest break rules are preempted as applied to drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) subject to the FMCSA’s hours-of-service (HOS) regulations. This primarily … Continue Reading

Independent Contractor Test the Subject of Two California Assembly Bills

In 2018, the California Supreme Court issued an opinion (Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County) establishing a new standard (“ABC test”) for determining whether an individual is an independent contractor or employee in the context of claims brought under the State’s Industrial Welfare Commission’s wage orders. The result is a … Continue Reading

Employer Successfully Defends Rounding Policy by Showing It Did Not Disfavor Employees

A California appellate court held an employer’s use of a rounding policy for its non-exempt employees complied with California law because it did not disfavor employees.  (Donohue v. AMN Services, LLC (Dec. 10, 2018) Case No. D071865.)  AMN employed Donohue as a nurse recruiter who was non-exempt from California’s overtime requirements.  AMN tracked recruiters’ time … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Rebuffs Plaintiffs’ Attempt to Undo Their Agreements Waiving Second Meal Period

The California Supreme Court has upheld the ability of California health care workers who work more than twelve hours a day voluntarily to waive their second meal period, rebuffing plaintiffs’ argument that their voluntary waivers were unenforceable.  (Gerard v. Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center (Dec. 10, 2018) Case No. S241655.)  The Labor Code generally provides … Continue Reading

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
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