The Crush - January 2022 - 7

STATE FOCUS
Court Decisions in 2022 May Affect Workplaces
By Michael Miiller
Every year, court decisions about a particular set of circumstances relative to one specific employer or
one workplace can change the law for every employee, workplace and employer in California. In the
year ahead, the California Supreme Court will hear a handful of important cases dealing with employer
liability and wage and hour issues. A few of these potentially precedent-setting cases are below.
JOINT LIABILITY FOR
DISCRIMINATION: DUCKSWORTH
V. TRI-MODAL DISTRIBUTION
SERVICES
In this case, two employees claimed they were denied promotions because of race and
filed suit against their employer and two staffing agencies. The lower courts found the
staffing agencies were entirely uninvolved with the promotion decisions, and therefore
had no liability for discrimination claims.
Should the California Supreme Court disagree with the lower courts, the result could
expand liability for discrimination claims. In particular, joint employers - such as
staffing agencies, who are typically uninvolved in the day-to-day employment decisions
- could find themselves liable.
WAITING TIME: NARANJO V.
SPECTRUM SECURITY SERVICES
There is a long-standing debate on whether waiting time penalties are recoverable for
meal and rest period violations. In this case, employees alleged meal break violations.
The lower court held that unpaid premium wages for meal period violations did not
entitle employees to pay stub penalties or waiting time penalties.
If the California Supreme Court disagrees with the lower courts, it may increase
potential penalties for California meal and rest period violations, as violations could be
compounded by alleged pay stub penalties and waiting time penalties.
ABC TEST: VAZQUEZ V. JAN-PRO
FRANCHISING INTERNATIONAL
In the 2018 case Dynamex v. Superior Court (Dynamex), the Supreme Court created the
ABC test which is now used for classification of independent contractors. In this case,
plaintiffs alleged Jan-Pro misclassified janitors as independent contractors instead of
employees.
The biggest question before the California Supreme Court in this case is whether
the Dynamex decision can be applied retroactively. If Dynamex is determined to be
retroactive, misclassification claims could potentially be reopened and reach back to
before the ruling in Dynamex in 2018.
REGULAR RATE OF PAY: FERRA V.
LOEWS HOLLYWOOD
In this case, the employee alleges the employer improperly calculated her premium
payment. The lower courts ruled in favor of the employer and concluded meal period
premiums need only be paid at an employee's base hourly rate.
However, if the Supreme Court disagrees with the lower courts, a ruling could mean the
complicated calculations required for determining the regular rate of pay for overtime
would also apply to meal and rest penalties. This would increase the penalties based on
other compensation, such as non-discretionary bonuses paid to employees.
CAWG.ORG 7
https://www.cawg.org/

The Crush - January 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Crush - January 2022

The Crush - January 2022 - 1
The Crush - January 2022 - 2
The Crush - January 2022 - 3
The Crush - January 2022 - 4
The Crush - January 2022 - 5
The Crush - January 2022 - 6
The Crush - January 2022 - 7
The Crush - January 2022 - 8
The Crush - January 2022 - 9
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The Crush - January 2022 - 14
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