Recent Cases in Employee Privacy Rights, Workplace Arrangements, and Overtime

Three cases from this week showed how employee privacy, workplace arrangements, and overtime remain hot topics in the California employment law landscape.

The first case is a settlement by Sony Pictures where it agreed to pay at least $2 million dollars and up to $4.5 million to a proposed class of former and current employees, as well as non-employees, who were affected by the massive data hack that occurred late last year.  The money will be provided to the proposed class members for their time and effort to prevent fraud as well as for identity fraud protection insurance.   In addition, $2.5 million dollars will be set aside in case there are any identity theft losses not covered by the insurance.  Here, the class members claimed that Sony was negligent in the way that it protected their identities.  This protection, or lack thereof, allegedly allowed the infamous data breach to take place supposedly by North Korean hackers in retaliation for the movie release of “The Interview.”

In another important result this week, California’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), which is California’s labor code enforcer, held that the decision as to whether a worker requires proper seating depends on analyzing the worker’s specific tasks and not the job as a whole.  This decision sided with employees of CVS and JP Morgan who argued that if the tasks required them to sit down they must be provided with seats.  In opposition, CVS and JP Morgan argued that courts should take a “holistic approach” where they assess the nature of the employees’ work by a totality of the tasks required to perform it, workplace layout, time spent sitting, and other factors.   The DLSE added that the seating requirement must be applied objectively and use common sense rather than looking at the overall environment where the employees work.

To round out the interesting cases this week is another class action where employees of SpaceX, a space explorations company in Los Angeles, claimed that the company took time off of their work hours to avoid paying them overtime.  The law suit alleges that SpaceX did not provide sufficient labor hours for its workers to complete their assignments.  This forced the workers to clock out and finish their tasks while off the clock, a major wage and hour violation.  See these blogs for similar cases.

If you suffered an employment-related action related to your privacy, workplace, wage and hour, or other employee rights, or know of possible discrimination or retaliation after reporting illegal or discriminatory conduct to government regulators, prompt action to preserve your rights is crucial.  Contact the experienced employment law attorneys at Stephen Danz & Associates for a free consultation to discuss your circumstances and legal options.