In many employment situations, California employees are required to spend a lot of time on their feet. Workers such as cashiers, bank tellers, customer service representatives in retail stores, and employees in other workplace situations where workers are primarily required to work while standing up have additional protections under a recent state court decision.
California Suitable Seating Rule Offers Additional Benefits to Workers
A state law was recently upheld by the California State Supreme Court which permits employees the right to have suitable seating appropriate to their employment situation.
This recent court decision has made it easier for employees in California to bring class-action claims against their employer for failing to provide appropriate seating at work.
The state Supreme Court held that the nature of the task should determine whether seating should be provided. That is, the overall job duties of a position, such as a cashier or teller, should control what seating is appropriate. Employers involved in the case wanted the court to consider the individual circumstances of each employee instead, which would have made it more difficult to certify a class action suit.
What do California suitable seating laws mean for employees?
Under this law, California employees have the right to some sort of suitable seating. For instance, a cashier generally would be entitled to have a seat, such as a stool, that would permit him or her to sit while working. Or, a worker who must regularly be on his feet and moving, a different sort of seating arrangement may be appropriate. But, overall, most California work environments should afford employees the opportunity to make use of some sort of suitable seating arrangement.
What happens if your employer breaks suitable seating laws?
While California employers are not required to permit employees to be seated at all times in general, an employer must permit an employee to sit if sitting does not interfere with the performance of the job.
If your employer violates the suitable seating rule, they may face financial penalties for each violation. An employer can face a $100 per employee per pay period for initial violation and $200 or each following violation of the suitable seating law.
California employees should be aware that the law has a one year statute of limitations. This means that the employee can only sue for a violation of the suitable seating law within one year of the alleged violation.
Additionally, an employer cannot expect one employee to be permitted to sit while another employee doing the same work is not permitted to do so. If one employee engaged in one sort of work is provided a suitable seating arrangement, then all other similarly situated employees should be permitted to have the same seating arrangement. This may apply even if one of the employees has a recognized disability and therefore has seating provided as part of a reasonable accommodation.
If you believe that you should be offered a seating arrangement, or a more suitable seating arrangement, relating to your job, you should consider contacting a California employment lawyer to help you attain a revised seating arrangement as well as possible financial penalties against your employer.
If you have other questions or concerns about suitable seating laws in California, contact our experienced employment attorneys at Hennig Ruiz Law Firm now for a free consultation.