California Supreme Court Finally Rules On Employee Seating Cases-bak


The California Supreme Court finally weighed in today on the extent to which California wage orders require retail employers to providing seating for employees.  The decision is Kilby v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc. The issue came to the Court via two class actions against CVS Pharmacy and JP Morgan Chase pending in federal courts in San Diego and Los Angeles, respectively.  The plaintiffs had argued that if any single task might feasibly be performed seated, a seat was required.  Defendant employers argued for a “holistic” approach pursuant to which all of the employee’s tasks would be examined, and then a determination made as to whether the job as a whole should be categorized as a standing or sitting job.  The Court rejected both approaches, ruling that “[a]n employee may be entitled to a seat to perform tasks at a particular location even if his job duties include other standing tasks, so long as provision of a seat would not interfere with performance of standing tasks.”  The Court placed the burden on the employer of establishing that a seating requirement would be unfeasible.  While the Court did not side completely with the plaintiffs, the media appears to be giving the win to the employees.

Fernald Law Group’s Labor and Employment practice covers the full range of labor and employment matters. Our attorneys help clients develop company-wide policies that affect all employees in addition to counseling clients employment disputes.