- Written by Jacquelyn E. Larson
California regulations and Wage Orders 1 through 16 require that working employees “shall be provided with suitable seats when the nature of the work reasonably permits the use of seats...” The California Supreme Court recently helped clarify what this language means in Kilby v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc.
First, the court looked at the regulations’ phrase “nature of the work” in determining whether seats should be provided. The Court held that in looking at whether the nature of the work permits the use of seats, employers should not look to the full range of tasks an individual performs throughout the day. The Court rejected this “holistic” look at an employee’s duties; instead, the employer must look to the employee’s total tasks and duties performed at a given location. In other words, if an employee spends two-thirds of his day stocking shelves, and one-third of his day working at a cash register, the employer is not to consider the shelf-stocking in analyzing whether it is reasonable to give a seat for the time spent at the cash register.
No Blood From A Turnip – Trump Bankruptcy Allows Resort to Disavow Old Collective Bargaining Agreement
- Written by Carl Larson
The Third Circuit recently clarified some ambiguity on how expired labor contracts are affected by Chapter 11 bankruptcy. While it was fairly established that the bankruptcy code permitted employers to modify current collective bargaining agreements (“CBA”), lower courts were divided on how expired CBAs were affected. Generally speaking, when a CBA expires, unlike other contracts, an employer has a duty to maintain the “status quo” of working conditions until a new agreement is reached or negotiations reach an impasse.
Previously, CBAs held a more protected status as contracts in bankruptcy proceedings and debtors were required to meet a very high bar before the contracts could be altered. In In re: Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. et al., The Trump Taj Mahal was reorganizing its debt in Chapter 11 bankruptcy and blamed some of its difficulty on the terms imposed upon it by its CBA including pension contributions and health and welfare benefits. The Third Circuit rejected the idea that CBAs were somehow different than other contracts for the purposes of bankruptcy. The Court reasoned that the purpose and policy of Chapter 11 bankruptcy is to allow the company to survive by restructuring its obligations. This now includes its labor obligations as well. In the absence of this decision, Trump Taj Mahal would have been required to continue meetings its obligations to maintain the status quo until impasse, which can often take significant time and effort to reach.