One of the bills signed into law by California Governor Edmund G. Brown from the most recent legislative session aims to hold customers accountable when hiring trucking companies that have a record of Labor Code violations. Under SB 1402, customers who utilize trucking companies to deliver goods from California’s ports may be held jointly and severally liable for certain Labor Code violations committed by those trucking companies. Here is the explanation for the need for this new law: “Holding customers of trucking companies jointly liable for future labor law violations by port drayage motor carriers who they engage, where the customer has received advance notice of their record of unsatisfied judgments for labor law violations, will exert pressure across the supply chain to protect drayage drivers from further exploitation.” And “Customers have the market power to exert meaningful change in the port drayage industry that has eluded California drivers for more than a decade.” Continue reading “Customers Now Jointly Liable with Port Trucking Companies for Certain Labor Violations”
By Brett Thomas
The California Court of Appeal recently issued two employee-friendly rulings regarding the California Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA), which further expand PAGA’s reach. PAGA is part of the California Labor Code and authorizes individuals to bring representative actions against employers to recover civil penalties for violations of the California Labor Code.
In the first, Huff v. Securitas Security Services USA, Inc., a California Court of Appeal addressed the issue of whether a plaintiff who brings a PAGA representative action may seek penalties not only for the Labor Code violation that affected him or her, but also for different Labor Code violations that affected other employees. The Court held that PAGA allows a plaintiff to pursue penalties for all the Labor Code violations committed by that employer that affected any employee, provided that the plaintiff must have been affected by at least one Labor Code violation. In other words, a plaintiff who brings a representative action under PAGA may seek penalties for violations that he or she did not even suffer. Continue reading “California Courts of Appeal Pave the Way for More PAGA Claims”
In Mendoza v. Nordstrom, Inc., the California Supreme Court answered some unsettled questions regarding the state’s day of rest statutes. In short, these provisions of the California Labor Code provide that employees are entitled to at least one day’s rest out of seven. Specifically, section 551 of the Labor Code states that “[e]very person employed in any occupation of labor is entitled to one day’s rest therefrom in seven.” Section 552 states that “[n]o employer of labor shall cause his employees to work more than six days in seven.” Section 556 provides an exception to sections 551 and 552, stating that they “shall not apply to any employer or employee when the total hours of employment do not exceed 30 hours in any week or six hours in any one day thereof.”
At the behest of the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court considered three questions, each of which is discussed below.
(1) “Is the day of rest required by sections 551 and 552 calculated by the workweek, or does it apply on a rolling basis to any seven-consecutive-day period?”
Considering the text and history of sections 551 and 552, the Industrial Welfare Commission’s (“IWC”) wage orders, and the statutory scheme of the day of rest provisions, the Supreme Court concluded that employees are entitled to one day of rest each work week (as defined by the employer) rather than one day in seven on a rolling basis. Thus, the Court acknowledged that an employee could be required to work up to twelve consecutive days without violating sections 551 and 552. For example, if an employer defines a workweek as Sunday through Saturday, then an employee could be given a day of rest on the Sunday of Week 1, could be required to work 12 consecutive days, and then could be given off the Saturday of Week 2.
(2) “Does the section 556 exemption for workers employed six hours or less per day apply so long as an employee works six hours or less on at least one day of the applicable week, or does it apply only when an employee works no more than six hours on each and every day of the week?”
With respect to this question, the Court held that the exemption set forth in Section 556 applies only to those employees who never exceed six hours of work on any day of the workweek. If on any one day an employee works more than six hours, a day of rest must be provided during that workweek. Continue reading “And On The Seventh Day…”