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Wage & Hour

Apple Facing New Class-Action Lawsuit From Hourly Employees

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The following was written by Jeff Elder and featured on The Wall Street Journal

Apple Inc. is now facing another class-action lawsuit from its workers, as 20,000 hourly wage employees claim the computer company didn’t give them lunch breaks, rest breaks or final paychecks in accordance with California law.

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BACK UP THE TRUCK: EXEMPT DRIVERS ENTITLED TO MEAL AND REST PERIODS

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The transportation industry is reeling from bad news issued recently by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that overtime exempt truck drivers are entitled to meal and rest periods under California’s wage and hour laws. In Dilts v. Penske Logistics, LLC (9th Cir. 2014) U.S. App. LEXIS 12933, the employer argued that the meal and rest period provisions required by California law are preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (“FAAAA”). The Ninth Circuit, joining ranks with several other courts, disagreed and ruled that the FAAAA does not preempt California’s meal and rest period requirements.

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PAGA Representative Actions (Class Actions) Cannot be Waived in Arbitration Says California Supreme Court

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It seems California’s High Court has successfully steered the runaway class action truck to the gravel road by allowing class action waivers in employment arbitration agreements to be enforced. However, is the same decision pay dirt for the state because it endorses class actions under the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (PAGA)?

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SEATTLE RAISES MINIMUM WAGE TO $15 PER HOUR WHILE CALIFORNIA PROPOSES AN INCREASE TO $13

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Seattle voted to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Following suit, California also proposed a minimum wage increase to $13 per hour.

 

Last week, the Seattle City Council unanimously voted to approve an increase in the minimum wage to $15 per hour. The state of Washington already has the highest state minimum wage in the country at $9.32 per hour. (San Francisco has the highest city minimum wage at $10.74.)

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Exceedingly Rare Beast

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Last week the California Supreme Court reversed a $15 million verdict for 260 plaintiffs ($57,000 per person) in a wage and hour class action for unpaid overtime. The class action lawsuit alleged employees were misclassified as outside salespersons exempt from overtime. In the first line of its opinion the court astutely points out that:

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ON-DUTY MEAL PERIODS: WHAT EMPLOYERS SHOULD KNOW

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The foreman starts his workday at least 1 hour before (5:30 a.m.) the general laborers (6:30 a.m.) because he has to transport people. He then takes his lunch with the general laborers (11:00 a.m.) and is not allowed to leave. Is this legal?

No. Generally, California law provides that every employer shall authorize and permit all employees to take a thirty (30)-minute meal period after no more than five (5) hours of work.

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Class Action Epidemic: Are You a Target?

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As most of you are aware the Labor Commissioner has established a calculation for a separate special hourly rate for the nonproductive time that is associated with rest breaks and recovery periods different from the rate that should compensate employees for “regular” nonproductive time.  Despite the fact that employers were already paying a specific hourly rate to piece rate employees, the compensation for nonproductive time, including rest breaks and recovery periods, must be compensated separately. Moreover, according to the Labor Commissioner, there is a difference between "regular" nonproductive time and special nonproductive time associated with rest breaks and recovery periods. In other words, not all nonproductive time is treated equally. CLICK HERE to view previous article regarding piece rate, rest periods and nonproductive time.

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BLOCKING CLASS ACTIONS: WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

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For those of you that attended the Ag Employer Conference presented by The Saqui Law Group you are painfully aware of the class-action epidemic impacting the Agricultural Industry. These class actions are primarily based on the recent court rulings requiring separate compensation for nonproductive time of piece rate employees. Plaintiff attorneys are lining up to take advantage and cash in on the retroactive effect of the courts’ rulings.

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Staples Sued Over Security Checks

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A class action lawsuit was filed recently against a Staples, Inc. subsidiary for allegedly failing to compensate their warehouse workers for time spent undergoing mandatory security checks.

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HOT TOPIC: PIECE RATE, REST PERIODS AND NONPRODUCTIVE TIME

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Recent case law has established that employers must pay piece-rate employees separately for their “non-productive time”. Nonproductive time is time on the clock that is not spent actively engaged in the piece rate activity. Examples include rest periods, travel time, meetings, calisthenics, and heat illness recovery periods. As nonproductive time, employers must keep track of rest periods of and pay them separately from the piece rate. The rate at which employers must pay rest periods has not been conclusively established and is a current point of contention. For example, is the employee supposed to be paid at the minimum wage, a base hourly rate, or at the average piece rate earnings for the rest periods? 

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