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TURNING EMPLOYER WRONGS INTO EMPLOYEE RIGHTS

*At this time, we are only conducting phone consultations, please no walk-ins.

Danz’ Weekly Employee Rights Update

In this segment of Danz’ ‘Weekly Employee Rights Update’, we aim to provide educational and timely information from recent cases and laws.

(1) If you’re used to waiving your second meal period, you may be out of luck. A recent court of appeals decision in California ruled that employees who work longer than twelve hours may no longer be permitted to waive their second meal period. For many years, employees working longer than twelve hour shifts, often in the health care field, were permitted by Wage Order 5 to “waive” their second meal period and work through it. However, the recent court decision in validated this provision and agreed with Labor Code Section 512 which states that employees can only waive their second meal period if they do not work longer than twelve hours. The case will likely be reviewed by the California Supreme Court by June. See Gerard v. Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center.

(2) With the explosion of Uber, Lyft, and other taxi service companies on the cusp, we are no doubt going to see changes in how courts permit these companies to classify their drivers as employees or independent contractors. Until now, the aforementioned companies have been classifying their drivers as “independent contractors.” By all rationale, this is so that the companies can avoid paying for workers compensation or unemployment insurance, abiding by certain anti-discrimination laws, and forking out more taxes to the government. However, certain court cases like Alexander v. FedEx, are changing the landscape of how employers may classify their drivers. In this case, the court held that the FedEx drivers may only drive FedEx approved vehicles, groom themselves in accordance with company standards, wear FedEx uniforms, and deliver packages per prescribed days and times. This may lend to the control factor creating an employer-employee relationship. Hence, a similar reasoning may be used for the Uber companies and we therefore may see a changing of the employment relationship in that arena in the near future. Class action attorneys are ready to file numerous lawsuits against these and similarly-operated companies. See related blogs.

(3) In June, as a healthcare worker, you will be required to undergo additional workplace violence prevention education. So indicate recent OSHA meetings. This is in the aftermath of the Governor-signed SB 1299 which requires Cal/OSHA to develop regulations requiring acute-care hospitals to implement workplace violence prevention plans. Soon, all healthcare employers will be required to adopt similar workplace violence prevention plans. Some of these plans will include additional training especially for employees who are expected to respond to violent incidents as part of their frontline duties. For additional information on this topic and Employee Rights, see www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/doshreg/Workplace-Violence-in-Healthcare.