Legal News

Pat Steet Ed.D., SHRM-SCP, SPHR, PHRca is the Legislative Director for Inland Empire SHRM. Pat provides regular updates on legislation, laws and cases effecting Human Resources.

What TheFrlekin?

California employers who conduct purse and bag check when employees leave for the day may be paying for that privilege.  In light of the California Supreme Court’s decision in Frlekin v. Apple, Inc., those security screenings now seem likely to lead to even more litigation wherein employees claim that they were not paid for their time spent waiting to be screened. This goes against the previous Supreme Court ruling in Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk. The Supreme Court ruled that time spent waiting for bag checks was not compensable time under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). Under the California ruling “bag checks” are compensable time. So, get ready employers particularly those in the retail industry you may want to consider beginning to pay your employees for their time spent for bag searches or you may find yourself in a wage and hour dispute. As usual consult with your attorney for guidance in this matter.

Now Can You See Me?

California’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board adopted a new safety rule on January 16, 2020, requiring employers to provide employees with access to their written Injury and Illness Prevention Plan (IIPP) within five days of an employee’s request. The new rule is scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2021. California’s Occupational Safety and Health Division (Cal/OSHA) frequently cites employers for failing to maintain an IIPP that complies with the detailed requirements set forth in Cal/OSHA’s IIPP rule at 8 CCR § 3203.

Employers will want to ensure that their IIPPs comply with this new access requirement by determining—and documenting—how requests for access can be made and how employees will be provided access to the IIPP.Cal/OSHA requires employers with 10 or more employees to develop a written IIPP. 8 CCR § 3203(a). However, there was previously no requirement that employers share or make those plans available to employees. This new rule requires employers to provide “access” to the IIPP within five business days of receiving a request from an employee or the employee’s designated representative for the IIPP. Employers have two options as to how to comply with this access rule – by providing a printed or electronic copy of the plan, or, instead of providing a copy of the plan, by providing access to the plan through a server or website. For additional information you can visit https://www.dir.ca.gov/title8/3203.html

Pass Go “Collect $200”

On January 31, 2020, Chief United States District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller enjoined California from enforcing AB 51. This new legislation prohibits employers from requiring their employees to sign arbitration agreements.  Last week, the court issued its detailed written opinion explaining the basis for its decision.As predicted, the Court found that AB 51 is preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) because it “singles out arbitration by placing uncommon barriers on employers who require contractual waivers of dispute resolution options that bear the defining features of arbitration.”  In short, AB 51 places arbitration agreements on “unequal footing” as compared to other contracts because AB 51’s prohibition on California employers’ use of “right, forum, or procedure” waivers as a condition of employment illegally disfavors arbitration agreements. Whether the state will appeal the district court’s ruling to the Ninth Circuit remains unclear.  In the meantime, employers in California may once again rest easy that they won’t be doing time in the county jail just for asking employees to sign an arbitration agreement.Employers are encouraged to consult with legal counsel to ensure compliance in this regard.

Look for future legislative and legal updates soon.