Proposed Class Settlement Shows Potential Cost of Failure to Reimburse for Work-Related Personal Vehicle Use in California

Reed, Tim - 300dpi
Tim Reed

California law mandates that employers reimburse employees for work-related expenses.  Under section 2802 of the California Labor Code, “[an] employer shall indemnify his or her employee for all necessary expenditures or losses incurred by the employee in direct consequence of the discharge of his or her duties.”  Cal. Lab. Code § 2802(a).  Among the items that may require reimbursement in California are office supplies, uniform costs, travel expenses, and mandatory training.  In addition, an employer must reimburse its employee for a reasonable percentage of the employee’s cell phone bill where personal cell phone use is required as part of the employee’s job duties.  Employers are also required to reimburse employees for costs associated with use of a personal vehicle for work-related purpose.  The duty to reimburse for business expenses arises where an employer “know[s] or ha[s] reason to know that the employee has incurred an expense.”  Stuart v. Radioshack Corp., 641 F. Supp. 2d 901, 904 (N.D. Cal. 2009).   Continue reading

California Governor Signs Wave Of New Gender/Sex Related Bills Into Law In The Wake Of #MeToo

Wage Hour - social, smallExecutive Summary: On September 30, 2018, California Governor Edmund J. Brown, Jr. signed into law eight new bills involving gender and sexual harassment training and related issues. The Governor also signed into law two bills amending California’s lactation accommodation requirements. These laws were submitted by the legislature on the heels of the #MeToo movement, and the majority of these new laws were largely written to address workplace issues with respect to sexual harassment in particular.  Continue reading

Ninth Circuit Holds That The FAAA Does Not Preempt California’s Common Law Independent Contractor Test, But Holds The Door Open For Preemption Of The More Restrictive “ABC” Test

Boughton, Ross - 300dpi
Ross Boughton

Executive Summary:  In recent years, courts throughout the nation have grappled with the interplay and potential conflict between state employment laws and the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (“FAAAA”), which generally prohibits states from enforcing any law  “related to” a motor carrier’s “price, route, or service. . . with respect to the transportation of property.”  49 U.S.C. § 14501(c)(1).  The issue typically arises when a state employment law imposes employee requirements or restrictions that have an actual or potential impact on how a motor carriers operate or the price they charge.    Continue reading

You Can Skim Milk But You Cannot Skim Wages

Harkavy, Michelle - 300dpi
Michelle Harkavy

Executive Summary:    On July 26, 2018, the California Supreme Court ruled that Starbucks must pay employees for minutes, maybe even seconds, spent on off-the-clock “work” by determining that the Plaintiff’s alleged class action state wage claims are not barred by the de minimis doctrine. Continue reading

California Court Holds Rounding Employee Time Punches to Nearest Quarter Hour OK—Under the Circumstances

Calculator Icon-02Executive Summary: Under California law, employers are required to pay employees for “all hours worked” when subject to the employer’s “control.” This raises the question: if an employer uses a timekeeping system that automatically rounds employee time punches up or down to the nearest quarter hour, is that lawful? The California Court of Appeals recently said “yes”—depending upon whether the rounding policy and practice are both neutral.

Continue reading

Friendly Reminder: Many California Local Minimum Wage Rates Increase On July 1

Boughton, Ross - 300dpi
Ross Boughton

Executive Summary

As many employers are well aware, since the passage of SB 3 in April of 2016, the California state minimum wage is set to increase each January 1 for the foreseeable future.  January 1, however, is not the only date that California employers must keep on their calendars.  July 1 is a key date for many local minimum wage statutes, with the minimum wage rates increasing this month in cities and counties throughout the state. Continue reading

The Devil is in the Details: Court Refuses To Compel Arbitration Where Employer Used Conflicting English and Spanish Versions Of An Arbitration Agreement

Boughton, Ross - 300dpi
Ross Boughton

Executive Summary

California’s Second Appellate District issued employers a reminder regarding the importance of attention to detail when drafting and issuing employment policies.  In Juarez v. Wash Depot Holdings, Inc., 2018 Cal. App. LEXIS 604 (July 3, 2018), California’s Court of Appeal refused to compel arbitration where an employer issued different and conflicting English and Spanish versions of an arbitration agreement.  Applying the age old rule that ambiguous contract language is construed against the drafter, the Court found that the more employee-friendly version (the Spanish version) applied, and upheld the denial of the employer’s motion to compel arbitration. Continue reading