Seyfarth Synopsis: With apologies to Dr. Seuss, we’ve penned an ode to the judicial chaos of the year just past, highlighted by three California Supreme Court decisions—Alvarado v. Dart Container Corp., Dynamex Operations v. Superior Court, and Troester v. Starbucks Corp.—all of which deviated from federal or common law norms to create more new cal-peculiar law that is friendly to plaintiffs and hostile to California business. Happy New Year!
The California Supremes, as we so often hear it,
rarely leave an employer in holiday spirit.
2018, alas, gave much more of the same,
placing employers behind in the game.
There were many new laws and decisions to weigh,
but here are just three to ruin management’s day:
At the beginning of March, to make business irate,
the Court changed how to figure the regular rate.
Flat-sum bonus calculation? Just tear it to shreds!
California proclaims, “We are not like the feds.”
Instead of dividing the bonus by all hours each week,
Just use the straight time, a division so bleak.
Important for employers seeking lawful abidance
is carefully following our regular-rate guidance.
The California Supremes continued their way,
wreaking more havoc just before May:
On April 30, Two Thousand Eighteen,
they continued their pro-plaintiff’s lawyer routine.
The Court issued a much anticipated decision,
inventing new law to some widespread derision.
Is one independent, or instead employee?
The Court says it’s simple as A, B, and C.
To be independent under wage order sections,
the worker must be free from control and directions.
Also a hirer must always enforce
that the work be beyond business’s usual course.
And also the work must be usually made
in some independent business or trade.
The decision is one we’re happy to share;
it should be considered with the utmost care.
Then in mid-summer, near end of July,
the California Supremes made still more of us cry.
In dissing a doctrine—de minimis time—
the Court found the federal law out of line:
Leeway for small stray time cannot be afforded
where high-tech can see that all time is recorded.
Advice that to us now seems rather quite sage
is to make sure all the work time is paid as a wage.
You have our best wishes this holiday season;
call us for advice for some employment-law reason.
For all who agree California law’s strange,
we will help in adopting all needed change.