Last week’s decision in Ward v. Tilly’s Inc. means that California employers with on-call policies are required to pay a minimum of two hours reporting time pay, even if the employee is told there is no need to come in to work that day.

A California Court of Appeal held that a company’s on-call scheduling policy requiring employees to call the employer in advance of a shift to find out if they need to appear for work triggered “reporting time” pay obligations under the California Industrial Welfare Commission’s (IWC) Wage Orders.

Under the Wage Orders, an employee who is required to report for work and does report must be paid for half the employee’s usual or scheduled day’s work, but in no event less than two hours’ pay, nor more than four hours’ pay, at the employee’s regular rate of pay.
Continue Reading Reporting for Duty: In California, It’s Compensable, Even When Employees are Told Not to Come to Work

For decades, the California Wage Orders have required employers to provide employees “with suitable seats when the nature of the work reasonably permits the use of seats.” Following passage of the California Private Attorney General Act of 2004 (“PAGA”), so-called “suitable seating cases” have become a common feature of California’s employment litigation landscape, with plaintiffs’ lawyers filing dozens of cases addressing thousands of employees, all seeking recovery of substantial penalties for failure to comply with the seating requirement. Despite the apparent simplicity of the Wage Order language, lower courts have failed to reach any consensus as to how it should be construed.
Continue Reading You May Want to Sit Down for This: California Supreme Court Clarifies Employer’s Duty to Furnish Suitable Seating To Employees

California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) prohibits discrimination, retaliation, and harassment in the workplace. Recent amendments to FEHA’s implementing regulations issued by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing include significant new obligations for employers, and clarify a range of important issues.

The amendments take effect on April 1, 2016. The full text of the amended regulations can be found here. We summarize below some of the more significant provisions.
Continue Reading New Regulations Implementing California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act Go Into Effect April 1, 2016

Employers in states across the country are known to shudder and cringe at the thought of contending with the vast array of employment law regulations that apply to California employers. Employers — especially those headquartered elsewhere but with employees in California — have also been known to use clauses in employment agreements with these California employees in an attempt to avoid application of California law. Such clauses include forum selection and choice of law clauses specifying that the law of another state governs the employment relationship, and requiring that employment disputes be litigated in that other state. This approach suffered a heavy blow recently in the guise of a California Court of Appeal’s decision in Verdugo v. Alliantgroup, L.P. The court in Verdugo held that a forum selection clause in the plaintiff’s employment agreement was unenforceable, relying upon a legal test that makes it all but impossible to use such a clause as a device to avoid application of California employment laws.
Continue Reading California Decision Gives Employees Home Court Advantage

In Cochran v Schwan’s Home Service, Inc., a California court of appeal recently held that employers are on the hook for reimbursing employees who are required to use personal cell phones for work-related calls — even when such calls do not require any out-of-pocket expenditure by the employee, because they are included in the employee’s “unlimited minutes” cell phone plan.

Cochran is especially relevant for employers who authorize or permit employees to use personal cell phones and other devices for work. Under Cochran, where such use is, under the circumstances, required by the employer, the obligation to reimburse arises.
Continue Reading California Court Adopts Expansive View of Cell Phone Reimbursement Requirements