- Written by SLG Staff
Oakland—Cal/OSHA is urging all employers throughout the entire state to protect their outdoor workers from heat illness. The National Weather Service has issued high heat and excessive heat warnings for portions of Northern and Southern California. The increasing high pressure will result in very dry conditions with temperatures climbing to over 100 degrees inland.
“When temperatures rise to high, potentially dangerous levels, it’s imperative that outdoor workers are protected from heat illness,” said Christine Baker, Director of the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR). The Division of Occupational Safety and Health, known as Cal/OSHA, is a division of DIR.
Heat advisories and excessive heat warnings are issued by the National Weather Service when weather conditions exist that can cause heat illness, which can be life threatening. California’s heat regulation requires all employers with outdoor workers to protect outdoor workers by taking these basic steps:
• Train all employees and supervisors about heat illness prevention.
• Provide enough fresh water so that each employee can drink at least 1 quart, or four 8-ounce glasses, of water per hour, and encourage them to do so.
• Provide access to shade and encourage employees to take a cool-down rest in the shade for at least 5 minutes. They should not wait until they feel sick to cool down.
• Develop and implement written procedures for complying with the Cal/OSHA Heat Illness Prevention Standard.
“Workers can die when temperatures are elevated,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. “Employers are responsible for ensuring their outdoor workers have enough shade, water, and rest to prevent heat illness. DIR and Cal/OSHA have resources available to help employers comply with the requirements.”
- Written by Kimberley A. Worley and Greg Blueford
A California Appellate Court recently ruled that the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) preempts California Labor Code section 229. That section provides that “unpaid wages claimed by an individual may be maintained without regard to the existence of any private agreement to arbitrate.” The FAA preempts state laws that would otherwise invalidate arbitration agreements where the contract involves “interstate commerce,” which the court found existed.
In Khalatian v. Prime Time Shuttle, Inc., Khalatian was an airport shuttle van driver for Prime Time Shuttle. Khalatian’s main job was to pick up and drop passengers off at Los Angeles International Airport. Khalatian and Prime Time Shuttle entered into a contract for binding arbitration of “any controversy or claim between the parties arising out of or relating to this Agreement . . .”
The agreement further expressly stated that Khalatian was an independent contractor, not an employee. In the lawsuit, Khalatian contended he was an employee and brought forth 11 various wage and hour causes of action against Prime Time Shuttle, as well as other employment-related claims. He sought to avoid the arbitration agreement, claiming among other things, that it was prohibited by section 229.