Category Archives: California

NEW CASE: California Employers Beware – Business Owners Can Be Held Personally Liable For Wage And Hour Violations

In a recent case (Atempa v. Pedrazzani), the California Court of Appeal held that an owner of a restaurant can be held personally liable for violations of California’s wage and hour law.

In this case, two former employees of a restaurant filed a claim against the restaurant (business entity) and the owner of the restaurant (personally) for unpaid wages.  Specifically, the former employees claimed that they were not paid minimum wage and overtime in accordance with California law.

By including the owner of the restaurant in the lawsuit, the former employees were testing whether the amendments made to California Labor Code §558.1 through the A Fair Day’s Pay Act (SB 588) really meant that certain individuals could be held personally liable for wage and hour violations without first “piercing the corporate veil” (i.e. claiming that the employer engaged in fraud, failed to follow corporate formalities, or the company was inadequately capitalized). Continue reading NEW CASE: California Employers Beware – Business Owners Can Be Held Personally Liable For Wage And Hour Violations

NEW CASE: California Court Approves Employer’s Rounding Practice

In a recently-decided case (Donohue v. AMN Services, LLC), a California appellate court found that an employer’s rounding of employee’s time to the nearest 10-minute increment did not violate California law because the practice did not disfavor employees.

In this case, the plaintiff was a non-exempt nurse recruiter who worked for a healthcare staffing company.  The recruiters, including the plaintiff, logged their time using a computer-based timekeeping system.  Despite the fact that the computer-based timekeeping system logged employees’ punches in real time, the company had a practice of rounding employees’ time to the nearest 10 minutes (e.g. all punch times between 7:55 a.m. and 8:04 a.m. would record as 8:00 a.m., and all punch times between 8:05 a.m. and 8:14 a.m. would record as 8:10 a.m.).  The plaintiff filed a class action lawsuit against the employer claiming that the company’s rounding practice violated California law. Continue reading NEW CASE: California Court Approves Employer’s Rounding Practice

NEW GUIDANCE: California Pay Equity Task Force Issues Guidelines for Complying with the California Equal Pay Act

In January 2016, SB 358, the amended version of the California Equal Pay Act, took effect. The California Equal Pay Act requires all California employers pay the same wage to employees who perform “substantially similar work” the same wage regardless of gender, ethnicity or race.   Under this law, employers are also required to provide an applicant with a pay scale for a position following a “reasonable request.”  Finally, it prohibits employers from requesting an applicant’s prior salary history and from relying on an applicant’s salary history alone to justify a disparity in compensation “based on sex, race or ethnicity.”

Following the effective date of the amended California Equal Pay Act, the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls launched a Pay Equity Task Force tasked with the responsibility of monitoring the implementation of the new law.  Recently, this task force issued written guidance for employees, employers and unions on how they may comply with the California Equal Pay Act. Continue reading NEW GUIDANCE: California Pay Equity Task Force Issues Guidelines for Complying with the California Equal Pay Act

NEW LAW — Minimum Wage Increases for Certain California Cities

Attention employers in Mountain View and Sunnyvale, California … minimum wage in these cities is increasing on January 1, 2019.

For employers in both Mountain View and Sunnyvale,  minimum wage is increasing from $15.00 to $15.65 per hour on January 1, 2019.

Employers in these cities should prepare for the increase and download the update minimum wage poster available here:

NEW LAW: Berkeley, California’s Minimum Wage to Increase October 1, 2018

Reminder for Berkeley, California employers … on October 1, 2018,  the city Berkeley’s minimum wage increased from $13.75 to $15.00 per hour.

It is recommended that all Berkeley employers verify that their employees are being paid the appropriate minimum wage rate.

NEW LAW: California Exempts Certain Employees At Petroleum Facilities From Rest And Recovery Period Requirements

California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed AB 2605 into law.  This new law adds a new section to the California Labor Code (section 226.75) and exempts unionized employees who hold safety-sensitive positions at petroleum facilities from California’s rest and recovery period requirements.

Specifically, the new law states that the requirement that employees must be relieved of all duties during rest periods does not apply to an employee in a safety-sensitive position at a petroleum facility to the extent that the employee is required to do the following during a rest period:

  • carry and monitor a communication device (e.g. a radio, pager, cell phone, etc.),
  • respond to emergencies,
  • remain on employer premises to monitor the premises and respond to emergencies.

If the employee is required to interrupt his or her rest period to address an emergency, after the emergency has been addressed the employer is required to “promptly” provide the employee with a “make up” rest period.  If that “make up” rest period is not provided, then the employer will be required to pay the employee the missed rest period premium (i.e. one hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of pay)

For purposes of this new law, the following terms mean:

  • “Petroleum facilities” means petroleum refineries, marine and onshore terminals handling crude oil and petroleum products, bulk marketing terminals, asphalt plants, gas plants, catalyst plants, carbon plants, and any other facility involved in the processing, refining, transport, or storage of crude oil or petroleum products.
  • “Safety-sensitive position” means a job in which the employee’s job duties reasonably include responding to emergencies at a petroleum facility.
  • “Emergency” means a situation or event requiring prompt or immediate intervention to prevent or respond to a disruption in normal operations, which could cause harm to employees, equipment, the environment, or the community.

This law only applies to employees subject to Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Order No. 1 who meet both of the following criteria:

  • The employee is covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement.
  • The valid collective bargaining agreement expressly provides for the wages, hours of work, and working conditions of employees, and expressly provides for rest periods for those employees, final and binding arbitration of disputes concerning application of its rest period provisions, premium wage rates for all overtime hours worked, and a regular hourly rate of pay of not less than 30 percent more than the state minimum wage rate.

The new law goes into effect immediately and has a sunset date of January 1, 2021 (unless extended by the legislature).

 

NEW LAW: California Amends Its Criminal History Inquiry Law

California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed  SB 1412 into law.  This new law, which goes into effect on January 1, 2019, amends California Labor Code section 432.7, which limits the information an employer may ask a job applicant about their criminal history.

Under the current version of California Labor Code section 432.7, employers are prohibited from asking a job applicant to disclose:

  • information concerning arrests that did not result in a conviction,
  • information concerning a referral to pretrial or posttrial diversion programs,
  • convictions that have been sealed, dismissed, expunged, or statutorily eradicated pursuant to law, or
  • information concerning or related to an arrest, detention, processing, diversion, supervision, adjudication, or court disposition that occurred while the person was subject to the process and jurisdiction of juvenile court law.

Continue reading NEW LAW: California Amends Its Criminal History Inquiry Law

NEW LAW: California Amends Its Inspection of Pay Records Law

California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed SB 1252 into law.  This new law, which goes into effect on January 1, 2019, amends California Labor Code 226, which relates to an employee’s right to review their payroll records.

Under the current version of California Labor Code 226, upon receipt of an oral or written request, California employers are required to provide current or former employees with the opportunity to review their payroll records within 21 calendar days of receipt of the request.

The amended law adds that employees have a right to “receive a copy” of the records. Employers are still permitted to charge the employee “the actual cost of reproduction” of the records.

NEW LAW: California To Require Human Trafficking Training In The Public Transportation Industry

California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed AB 2034 into law.  This law imposes new training requirements on certain employers in the public transportation industry relating to human trafficking.

This new law requires the following employers provide training relating to human trafficking to certain employees:

  • Operators of mass transit intercity passenger rail systems,
  • Operators of light rail systems, and
  • Bus stations.

The training must be 20 minutes long and must include the following information:

  • The definition of human trafficking, including sex trafficking and labor trafficking.
  • Myths and misconceptions about human trafficking.
  • Physical and mental signs to be aware of that may indicate that human trafficking is occurring.
  • Guidance on how to identify individuals who are most at risk for human trafficking.
  • Guidance on how to report human trafficking, including, but not limited to, national hotlines (1-888-373-7888 and text line 233733) and contact information for local law enforcement agencies that an employee may use to make a confidential report.
  • Protocols for reporting human trafficking when on the job.

The training can also include the following information and

  • Information and materials provided by the Department of Justice, the Blue Campaign of the federal Department of Homeland Security,
  • Information and material utilized in training Santa Clara County Valley Transit Authority employees, and
  • Information and materials provided by private nonprofit organizations that represent the interests of human trafficking victims, and the Department of Justice.

The training must be provided to all employees who

  • May interact with, or come into contact with, a victim of human trafficking or
  • Are likely to receive, in the course of their employment, a report from another employee about suspected human trafficking.

The initial human trafficking training must be provided to these employees by January 1, 2021.

NEW LAW: California To Require Human Trafficking Training In The Hospitality Industry

California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed SB 970 into law.  This law imposes new training requirements on employers in the hospitality industry relating to human trafficking.

This new law requires hotel/motel employers to provide training relating to human trafficking to certain employees.  The training must be 20 minutes long and must include the following information:

  • The definition of human trafficking and the commercial exploitation of children;
  • Guidance on how to identify individuals who are most at risk for human trafficking;
  • The difference between labor and sex trafficking;
  • Guidance on the role of hospitality employees in reporting and responding to this issue;
  • The contact information to the appropriate government industries (e.g. the National Human Trafficking Hotline, among others) and local law enforcement.

The training can also include information and materials provided by the Department of Justice, the Blue Campaign of the federal Department of Homeland Security, and various private nonprofit organizations that represent the interests of victims of human trafficking.

The training must be provided to all employees who have “reoccurring interactions with the public.”  This can include, but is not limited to the following types of employees:

  • employees who work in the reception area of the hotel,
  • housekeeping employees,
  • bellhops, and
  • employees who drive customers.

The initial human trafficking training must be provided to these employees by January 1, 2020 and every two years thereafter.  For new employees, this training must occur within six months of his or her employment in that role.