Last week, a federal jury found in favor of an employer who provided wage statements on cash register receipts for a class of 5,400 retail employees to not be in violation of the California law which requires employers to provide wage statements at the time of each payment of wages.

Dollar Tree, the extreme discount retail store, does not physically provide wage statements to its employees who have their checks direct deposited in their bank accounts at the end of each pay period. Instead, Dollar Tree makes the wage statements available for retail employees to print, free of charge, on receipt paper from any cash register at the store. Corporate employees can access their wage statements through an online portal. Both the electronic wage statement and receipt statement contained all of the information required by law and employees were permitted to call a company phone number and request a copy of their wage statement in the mail. Looking at these factors, the jury determined that Dollar Tree provided workers with easy access to their electronic wage statements and that the workers were not injured by not automatically receiving a physical copy of their wage statement each pay period.

COUNSEL TO MANAGEMENT:

This case highlights the importance of providing accurate and compliant wage statements. Dollar Tree was successful in defeating this claim because all of the legally required information on the wage statement was present and correct, and Dollar Tree offered a free option for employees to obtain their wage statements. In addition, employees could request a printed wage statement from Dollar Tree even if they were paid by direct deposit. These options provided by Dollar Tree helped refute the employees’ claim that they were disadvantaged by having their wage statements printed on receipt paper, since they had the opportunity to obtain a more traditional hard copy.

While the best practice is to provide employees a hard copy at the time of payment, this case provides a benchmark for employers who may want to offer an alternative method for providing wage statements, especially in an era when many companies are going paperless. However, employers in California cannot mandate that employees be paid by direct deposit. Employees must have the option of being paid with a physical check. In such a case, it is likely easier to provide a hard copy of the wage statement attached rather than utilize an electronic option. Please contact The Saqui Law Group if you have any questions regarding wage statements and their requirements.

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