This time of year gives us a chance to look back on what we’ve accomplished in the last twelve months. Our legislators and judges have kept us busy reporting on the ever-changing landscape that comes with employing folks in California. We saw our readership continue to grow and, with your support, won the very exciting

(Illustration) Dog Working.jpgBy Colleen M. Regan and Geoffrey C. Westbrook

Back in December 2012, the Fair Employment and Housing Commission (as it was then known) issued regulations greatly expanding protections to disabled job applicants and workers in California. The regulations require employers with five or more employees to permit “Assistive Animals” as a form of reasonable accommodation.

(Illustration) Shakespeare TypingBy Candace Bertoldi

“The rest is silence.” So spake Hamlet, as he expired on stage. Lawyers love wordplay. Webster defined it as the “playful or clever use of words.” Google defines wordplay as “the witty exploitation of the meanings and ambiguities of words, especially in puns.” Shakespeare was the king of wordplay; his exuberant punning, much like Hamlet’s famous last words, has kept literary critics debating for centuries over their meaning.

Lawyers especially enjoy the wordplay game of statutory interpretation, which many regard as the highest form of intellectual fodder. No one can deny that wage and hour litigation often arises out of the exploration (or exploitation) of seemingly innocuous words in California’s Labor Code. Perhaps the most litigated word in recent years was “provide”—until the California Supreme Court issued, in Brinker v. Superior Court, the final word on an employer’s duty to “provide” meal periods.

Currently in the hot seat are lesser-known words, contained in the Labor Code’s “day of rest” provisions:

  • Section 551 provides that “every person employed in any occupation of labor is entitled to one day’s rest therefrom in seven.”
  • Section 556 exempts employers from the duty to provide a day of rest “when the total hours of employment do not exceed 30 hours in any week or six hours in any one day thereof.”
  • Section 552 prohibits employers from “causing their employees to work more than six days in seven.”

Adding further to the confusion, the IWC Wage Orders acknowledge that an employee will sometimes work more than six consecutive days. They state that Sections 551 and 552 shall not be construed to prevent an accumulation of days of rest when “the nature of the employment reasonably requires the employee to work seven (7) or more consecutive days; provided, however, that in each calendar month, the employee shall receive the equivalent of one (1) day’s rest in seven (7).”

Employers have grappled with what it means to “cause” an employee to work six days in seven, what it means to provide “one day’s rest in seven,” and when the day of rest requirement is excused. Wage and hour litigation has exploited the ambiguity in these statutes. But the California Supreme Court now has an opportunity to provide some clarity.


Continue Reading Mendoza v. Nordstrom: Court to Define “Day of Rest”

California State FlagBy Kristina Launey and Christina Jackson

Having reconvened this past Monday from Spring Recess, the California Legislature will return its attention to the employment-related bills that were introduced for this 2015-16 Legislative Session. These bills—covering topics including paid leave rights, hours of work, and payment of wages—will now be heard in committees, as their authors attempt to carry them through the process to the Governor’s desk for approval. While it is too early to tell which bills will make the cut, those that do will be sure to affect employers doing business in California.

The proposed bills we’re watching most carefully are:
Continue Reading California Legislative Update: 2015 Employment Legislation To Watch

As loyal Cal Pecs Blog readers, you probably know of our signature book Cal-Peculiarities:  How California Employment Law Is Different, which we update on an annual basis.  The 2014 edition will be ready for release next week.

This edition is the most comprehensive to date.  It highlights the most recent court decisions and legislative developments

By Laura J. Maechtlen and Chantelle C. Egan

It’s payday!  If the employer uses direct deposit, an employee can conveniently and immediately access wages without going to the bank (or waiting for the check to clear).  For that reason, it might seem that every new employee would want direct deposit.  But, employers must be careful.

By Colleen M. Regan

From the promontory of the first full week in January, we look out over the California employment law landscape and offer our fearless predictions for the coming year.

  1. State enforcement agencies are on the prowl. Employers are increasingly finding themselves the targets of California enforcement agencies, particularly the Department of Fair

It’s here!  On April 30, we released the 2013 edition of Cal-Peculiarities: How California Employment Law is Different, the industry’s only annual guide that focuses exclusively on the most vexing aspects of employment law in the country’s most populous state.   Authored by Seyfarth’s California Workplace Solutions group, this 262-page guide captures the latest legislative,