E-Blasts

This month, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California entered a consent judgement ordering Fisher Ranch LLC, Fisher Ranch Corporation, Del Rio Harvest, Inc., and Dana Bart Fisher, Jr. to pay $21,168.00 in back wages and $49,104.00 in civil money penalties for violations of the Migrant Seasonal Workers Protection Act (“MSPA”) because Defendants  “failed to ensure that its farm labor contractor, Healthy Harvesting, provided safe transportation to and from the fields for workers.”  Defendants were also permanently enjoined from violating MSPA, including reviewing each Farm Labor Contractor (“FLC”) certificate before entering a contract with that FLC, or use or cause to be used vehicles for the transport of agricultural workers that do not conform to MSPA’s vehicle safety standards. The press release is available here.

UPDATE: Appeals Court Overturns Lower Court, Says Florida Citrus Company is NOT A Joint Employer with Farm Labor Contractor

By: Gregory Blueford

Yesterday, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a federal trial court decision that a Florida citrus grower was a joint employer for the purposes of its hired farm labor contractor’s H-2A employees’ (“Plaintiffs”) common law breach of contract claim only.

As reported here, last year, a federal trial court ruled that Consolidated Citrus LP (“Consolidated Citrus”) was a joint employer of its hired farm labor contractor’s, Ruiz Harvesting, Inc.’s (“RHI”) H-2A employees because Consolidated Citrus extensively controlled the manner and means by which the harvesters accomplished their work. As a brief refresher, Consolidated Citrus would, amongst other things, direct RHI on how much fruit should be harvested from a particular grove when the fruit was ready (as determined solely by Consolidated Citrus), issue ID badges to all RHI harvesters for the harvesters to clock in and out of a time-tracking device owned and operated by Consolidated Citrus, mandate that employees be paid by direct deposit, and conduct random audits of RHI’s recordkeeping. Plaintiffs sued both Consolidated Citrus and RHI for unpaid wages under the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Protection Act (“MSPA”), Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), common law breach of contract, and state violations of minimum wage law. RHI was later dismissed after settling their claims separately with Plaintiffs.

BILLS SIGNED BY GOVERNOR BROWN

AB 2282: Clarifications Regarding an Employer’s  Prohibition on Salary Inquiries

 By: Jizell Lopez

As we previously reported here, AB 168 went into effect at the beginning of this year prohibiting employers from asking job applicants to disclose their salary history and requiring an employer, upon reasonable request, to provide a pay scale for a position to an applicant applying for employment. The questions that many employers have had since the enactment of AB 168 is what exactly is a “pay scale,” what is considered a “reasonable request,” and who is considered an “applicant?” 

High Heat and Wildfire Advisories from Cal/OSHA

On Thursday, California’s Department of Industrial Relations published two safety-related advisory news releases titled “Cal/OSHA High Heat Advisory for Employers with Outdoor Workers in Central and Southern California” and “Cal/OSHA Issues Advisory for Worker Safety in Wildfire Regions.” Both of these advisories are directed at employers to ensure that proper precautions are being taken during the heat of the summer.

Federal Judge Enjoins Provisions of AB 450

As previously reported here and here, earlier this year the Immigration Worker Protection Act (commonly referred as “AB 450”) went into effect, putting employers in a precarious position attempting to juggle federal immigration laws and state law. In response, Attorney General Jeff Sessions filed a lawsuit against the State of California seeking a preliminary injunction. Sessions argued that several immigration laws, including the provisions of AB 450, were unlawful based on the theory that they were preempted by federal immigration laws.

Recently, the California Court of Appeals held in Huff v. Securitas Security Services USA, Inc., that an employee alleging a single violation of the California Labor Code under the Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) may also bring PAGA claims against the employer for all other alleged Labor Code violations, even those suffered by other employees of the same employer. According to the decision, an employee affected by at least one Labor Code violation may pursue penalties on behalf of the State for unrelated Labor Code violations by the same employer.

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