The Blog: Wage & Hour

Countless California employers unwittingly set themselves up for Wage and Hour lawsuits – even class actions – on a daily basis. Understanding employee / independent contractor classifications, classifying workers as “exempt” vs. “non-exempt”, applying state and federal overtime rules, rest and meal period violations, using comp time and other time-keeping issues are all critical watch points. Mistakes here cost companies like yours enormous sums of money when class action suits are filed. You are well-advised to consult employment lawyers to minimize these risks and aggressively defend resulting lawsuits.

New Law 2014 – Labor Code 218.5 Is Now Effectively a One Way Attorney’s Fees Statute (SB 462)

Employee sues employer and wins.  Employee gets their attorneys’ fees in nearly all cases. 
Employee sues employer and loses, i.e. gets zero.  Employer doesn’t get their attorney’s fees in nearly all cases. 
One of lone exceptions to this uneven rule (as of 12/31/2013) used to be Labor Code section 218.5.  Labor Code section 218.5 used to say in actions for …

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New Law 2014 – “Recovery Period” Added to Rest/Meal Periods Requirements (SB 435 )

SB 434 amends Labor Code section 226.7 (formerly addressing rest and meal periods only) to add a new “recovery period” obligation on employers.  So like rest and meal periods, California employers are now required to provide “recovery periods.”
A “recovery period” is defined as “a cool down period afforded an employee to prevent heat illness.”  Talk about a vague and …

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New Law 2014 – Liens Against Employer Property for Wage Judgments (AB 1386)

Employees may file claims for wages and other Labor Code violations either in court or before the California Labor Commissioner, Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE).  If an employee elects to sue before the Labor Commissioner/DLSE, an administrative hearing is held.  The hearing is known as a Berman Hearing and is heard by an administrative law judge appointed by the …

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New Law 2014 – Liquidated Damages for DLSE Minimum Wage Citations (AB 442)

Here’s another reason for California employers to know their California minimum wage obligations and to comply with them.
For a while now, a failure to pay minimum wage carried with it the penalty of having to pay not only the minimum wages owed but “liquidated damages” in the same amount (LC 1194.2).  Thus, if an employer failed to pay $250 in …

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New Law 2014 – Domestic Worker Bill Of Rights (AB 241)

A new California law just changed the ball game for in home care for the elderly who are unable to care for themselves. 
What happens when your parent would like to remain in their own home but they cannot care for themselves and need someone to care for their personal needs like eating, bathing, using the toilet or otherwise just moving …

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2014 California Minimum Wage Increases – Give Your Exempt Employees A Raise!

Now that the California minimum wage will increase to $9/hour on July 1, 2014 and to $10/hour on January 1, 2016, California employers must gear up for pay raises to their exempt employees.  That’s a 12.5% legally mandated pay raise in 2014 and another 11.1% in 2016.
How so you ask?

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Another Nail In The Coffin For Piece Rates

A California Court of Appeals has put another nail in the coffin for piece rate systems in California.  Bluford v. Safeway Stores, Inc. (5/24/2013) ruled California employers are “required to separately compensate for rest periods” and cannot compensate for them  by including them in a piece rate. 
Safeway’s Mileage Based Piece Rate System
Safeway paid its delivery drivers based on miles …

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Vacation Policies For Savvy California Employers

A wave of vacation policy issues has crashed our firm’s practice recently.  A client’s employee handbook vacation policy had to be tweaked to comply with California law.  Another client needed advice on how to terminate an employee who insisted on taking vacation after their request had been denied.  An employee threatened suit against a small/medium business potential client that had created …

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Rule 68 Employer Strategy To Moot FLSA Collective Actions

If your business has been sued you want the case to be over as soon as possible with the least overall cost.  This is particularly true if it is a class, collective or other representative action.  The U.S. Supreme Court in Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk, 133 S.Ct. 1523 (4/16/2013) underscored a strategy to do just that in collective actions …

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Piece Rate Compensation Plans Under Fire

With new California “wage and hour” cases coming out almost daily one should not be surprised that many previously unchallenged well-established California employer wage and hour practices are now being called into question.  One of those practices is piece rate compensation.
What Is a Piece Rate?
Most employers pay employees either on an hourly, salary, or commission basis, or some combination thereof.  …

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