E-Blasts

Federal regulations require that the minimum wage for H-2A employees is the highest of (1) the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (“AEWR”), (2) the prevailing hourly or piece rate, (3) the agreed upon collective bargaining wage rate, if applicable, or (4) the state or federal minimum wage. Often, the highest rate is the AEWR, a rate specifically set by the Department of Labor for each state as the minimum to be offered to H-2A workers.

On Monday, a California state appellate court upheld the dismissal of a proposed representative lawsuit under the Private Attorneys General Act that accused the supermarket chain WinCo Foods, LLC (“WinCo”) of forcing their employees to work through required meal breaks. As almost all employers are aware, an employer cannot force an employee to work more than five hours without providing a thirty minute meal period. The required meal period may be waived by mutual consent of both the employer and employee if the total work day is not more than six hours.

Yesterday, a California appellate court ruled that an employer who fully complied with AB 1513’s safe harbor provision has an affirmative defense against any employee claims for failure to properly compensate piece-rate employees for rest and recovery (“R+R”) and/or other nonproductive time (“Other NPT”) for any time periods prior to and including December 31, 2015, and not just between July 1, 2012-December 31, 2015.

Today, the California Supreme Court dealt a potentially huge blow to employers as it ruled that California wage and hour laws do not support a “de minimis” argument to excuse payments of wages for small amounts of otherwise compensable time upon a showing that capturing that time, typically at the beginning or end of work shifts, is administratively difficult to record. 

Last week, a California court awarded a former employee $2,250 in waiting time penalties after the employee quit her position and the employer sent her a final check in a timely fashion, but with a single typo. In Nishiki v. Danko Meridith, APC, Taryn Nishiki worked for Defendant Danko Meridith as an office manager and paralegal. Nishiki resigned by sending an email to Defendant on a Friday night after hours. At the time Nishiki resigned, she was owed $2,880.31 for unused vacation (“PTO”) time.

In a decision issued this week, the Ninth Circuit upheld a District Court decision in favor of employer Taco Bell—holding that its meal policy requiring employees to stay on site during meal periods when employees purchased a discounted meal was lawful.

In that case, Plaintiffs, individually and as class representatives, challenged Taco Bell’s meal policy, which provided that employees could take an off-duty meal period in accordance with the applicable Wage Order, but that employees could also choose to purchase a discounted meal so long as the employee ate the meal in the restaurant. The policy was enacted to prevent employees from purchasing food for friends and family at the discounted rate and taking it home.

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