E-Blasts

Happy Thursday, everyone! Save the dates for our Upcoming Seminars!

 

We will be presenting an Ag Business Compliance Seminar with the Lodi District Grape Growers Association on February 28, 2019. For more information, download the flyer.

We will be presenting an ALRB Access Refresher Seminar on March 21, 2019. For more information, download the flyer.

 

We will continue to inform you with seminar dates and locations. We look forward to watching your business thrive through the year. We are here when you need us!

One In The Same: Agricultural Grower Compels Staffing Agency Employees To Arbitration Without Having Its Own Arbitration Agreements

This week, the Second District Court of Appeal upheld an earlier decision that ruled a temporary staffing agency’s arbitration agreement with employees is enforceable in a dispute between the employees and the assigned agricultural employer. In Vasquez v. San Miguel Produce, Inc., two staffing agency employees brought forth a complaint alleging that they weren’t properly paid wages, given meal and rest breaks, provided wage statements or timely paid after termination. Rather than sue both the staffing agency and its client-employer, the employees elected to only name San Miguel Produce, the client-employer, as a Defendant. San Miguel Produce filed a cross-complaint seeking indemnification against the staffing agency, Employer’s Depot, Inc., arguing that they were an indispensable party to the suit. Further, San Miguel Produce sought to compel the employees to arbitration as the employees signed arbitration agreements with Employer’s Depot. The trial court denied San Miguel’s petition to compel arbitration as the agreements were signed.

Walmart’s Response to Truck Driver Shortage? Pay Nearly $90,000 a Year

As many of you know, there is a nationwide shortage of truck drivers and several employers have experienced issues with not only hiring truck drivers but retaining quality truck drivers. According to the American Trucking Association, the United States could be short 175,000 truck drivers by 2026. In response, Walmart has announced that they are looking to hire hundreds of truck drivers in addition to the 1,400 that were hired in 2018. To entice truck drivers and decrease the high turnover rate, Walmart has revamped their orientation initiatives to get drivers on the road more quickly and they have expanded their benefits, including an increase in salary. Walmart stated that starting February 2019, Walmart drivers will now earn, on average, $87,500 a year. This is over $40,000 more than the average truck driver, according to 2017 statistics from the Department of Labor. Additionally, Walmart will provide a one-cent-per-mile increase in pay—this means truck drivers will now make 89 cents per mile on average and approximately $87,500 a year.

As many of you know, the phase-in for the overtime provision of AB 1066 has taken effect January 1, 2019 for large employers with 26 or more employees. Now that the practical effects of AB 1066 continue to take place, it has left several employers with lingering questions. As we previously reported here, updates to Wage Order No. 14 have been drafted and are under review. Please note that while these revisions have not received final approval they are expected to be enforced by the DLSE starting January 1, 2019.

On January 15, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the First Circuit Court of Appeal’s ruling and held that trucking company New Prime Inc. (“New Prime”) cannot compel arbitration in a class action consisting of transportation workers engaged in interstate commerce.

Truck driver, Dominic Oliveira (“Oliveira”), brought a lawsuit against New Prime alleging the company failed to pay independent contractor truck-driver apprentices a proper minimum wage. Oliveira signed an arbitration agreement with New Prime when he joined its apprentice program. However, when New Prime tried to send his claim to arbitration, Oliveira argued that his lawsuit is not barred because his employment agreement between him and the company is a transportation worker’s agreement that is exempt under Section 1 of the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”). Section 1 of the FAA exempts from arbitration “contracts of employment of seamen, railroad employees, or any other class of workers engaged in foreign or interstate commerce.” Interstate commerce refers to the purchase, sale or exchange of commodities, transportation of people, money or goods, and navigation of waters between different states and is regulated by the federal government under the U.S. Constitution.

Clarifying New California Overtime Requirements for Agricultural Employers with Employees Working In California and Arizona In The Same Week

As we previously reported, beginning January 1, 2019, an employee of an agricultural employer under Wage Order 14 with 26 or more employees, who works in California, will be entitled to overtime when working over 9.5 hours in a day or 55 hours in a week. See our previous eBlast here for more information regarding the new overtime requirements under AB 1066. It is common in the agricultural industry that an employer will have farmworkers who work in California and neighboring states such as Arizona within the same week. The question has been raised by some on how to comply with the new overtime obligations if an employer has workers in both California and Arizona in the same workweek. We offer some clarity on this. 

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