Compliance News

Farm Owners Required to Comply With Overtime Law

Sacramento, CA: When it comes to California compliance overtime laws might be among the laws that are most widely violated. Employers are accused of misclassifying employees as exempt from California overtime, or just full-out failing to pay non-exempt workers for overtime hours. In some cases, workers aren't even eligible for overtime pay, or have different standards for paying overtime. One group of workers - farmworkers - could soon see that change.

Currently, California agricultural workers can receive overtime if they work more than 10 hours in a day and more than six days in a workweek. Proposed changes to the law would see their overtime pay increase over four years, beginning with July 1, 2019, when agricultural workers would receive overtime pay after 9.5 hours in one workday or 55 hours in one workweek. The overtime pay would increase by a half hour each year so that by 2022, agricultural workers would receive overtime pay after eight hours in one workday or 40 hours in a workweek.

The bill was proposed by California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) and was approved by the Assembly 44-32. AB 1066 will now be submitted to the governor.

"The whole world eats the food provided by California farmworkers, yet we don't guarantee fair overtime pay for the backbreaking manual labor they put in to keep us fed," said Gonzalez. "We know this is the right thing to do, and thanks to the hard work of an incredible coalition throughout the state and across the country, we're now one step closer to finally providing our hard-working farmworkers the dignity they deserve."

The bill changes a long history of farmworkers either being exempt from overtime pay or working longer hours until overtime pay begins. When the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was passed in 1938, agriculture workers were not included. In 1941, California exempted agriculture workers from overtime. That lasted until 1976, when legislation established the current 10-hour day overtime modifications.

According to a statement from Assemblywoman Gonzalez, recent data suggests the median personal income of California farmworkers is only $14,000, while the industry as a whole reportedly brought in more than $50 billion in 2014.

Some groups, including the California Farm Bureau Federation, the Western Growers Association and agricultural producers fought against the bill, arguing that it would put California farms at a competitive disadvantage.

But the United Farm Workers said in a statement that excluding farm workers from overtime in 1938 was a grievous wrong.

"This deplorable caste system must end…and it starts in California, which provides over half of America's fresh produce and sets the pace for the entire nation," the organization said.

September 3, 2016

California Labor Law Compliance Lawsuit Grew from Accident at Tesla

Fremont, CA: A developing issue in the global automotive industry pertaining to labor law compliance appears to have its roots in California and, specifically, the Tesla automotive plant. A California labor law compliance lawsuit filed by an injured worker toiling for a subcontractor during a construction job at the Tesla plant is effectively reverberating around the globe.

June 1, 2016

California Supreme Court Rules Employees Entitled to Seats

Sacramento, CA: The Supreme Court of California has ruled that employees must be provided with seats if sitting does not interfere with the work they are doing. The decision came after a California employee lawsuit filed by workers at CVS and Chase Bank, who argued they were forced to stand on the job despite California law requiring access to seats where work reasonably permits sitting.

April 8, 2016

TrueCar Truly Believes It Is Compliant with California Law

Santa Monica, CA: In an ongoing California compliance battle between the California New Car Dealers Association (CNCDA) and TrueCar Inc. (TrueCar), the former continues to chase the latter in the courts over what the CNCDA feels is unlawful pricing, together with false and misleading advertising on the part of TrueCar, or so it is alleged.

February 8, 2016

Judge in Uber Case Rules on Arbitration Agreements

San Francisco, CA: Plaintiffs in the Uber misclassification lawsuit have been handed another victory in their litigation against the ridesharing company. The judge in the lawsuit has ruled against Uber’s arbitration agreement, setting the stage for thousands more plaintiffs to join the lawsuit.

December 28, 2015

$4.9 Million Settlement Approved for California Prevailing Wage Compliance Lawsuit

San Francisco, CA While various guidelines in the California labor code cover a wide swath of regulations governing wage and labor issues in the state, the California Prevailing Wage Law provides more specific guidelines and requirements for construction, installation and other projects that fall within the purview of public works.

October 2, 2015

California Labor Law: Yard Hostlers Not Getting Proper Breaks

Lancaster, CA Yard hostling might be an area of employment that people are not familiar with, but that doesn’t mean that yard hostlers don’t deserve proper meal and rest breaks. Unfortunately, some companies that employ yard hostlers are accused of not properly scheduling or providing meal and rest breaks because they are more concerned with boosting their profits. One lawsuit alleging California labor violations has already been filed, says Kitty Szeto, attorney at R. Rex Parris Law Firm, and more could certainly follow.

April 27, 2015

American Apparel Hit with Proposed California Labor Law Class Action

Los Angeles, CA When American Apparel announced to the press an impending mass layoff, the imminent job loss was allegedly news to many of the employees about to be affected, according to a class-action lawsuit filed days ago in California. When the layoffs were triggered on or about April 1, affected employees were blindsided, with little notice and minimal severance. California labor law and the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (both federal and state) hold strict tenets as to what is required when a worker is let go through no fault of his own.

April 20, 2015

Silicon Valley Close to Settlement

San Francisco, CA Four Silicon Valley companies that allegedly violated California labor laws are close to reaching a settlement in an antitrust class-action lawsuit involving 64,000 current and former workers.

January 19, 2015

Temp Worker Takes on Former Employer in Proposed Class Action

Los Angeles, CA A woman in California employed by a state-based temp agency has filed what she hopes will become a class action California labor lawsuit against her former employer over allegations of improper payment records.

December 15, 2014
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