Owners of businesses with at least one employee should stay fully apprised of all federal and California state laws that relate to the treatment of employees. For example, there are various state and federal laws related to wage and hour matters, discrimination, and insurance and taxes. Laws can change and courts regularly issue new interpretations of existing laws. Accordingly, it can be difficult for you to know whether you are truly in compliance with the most up-to-the-minute versions of employment laws. After all, your focus is on your business and not the latest court opinions. However, a skilled business attorney makes it their job to know new developments in any laws that would be applicable to your business and your employees.
California Court Ruling on Employee Seating Requirements
Earlier this year, the California Supreme Court issued a decision on a class action case that involved an employer who forced its employees to stand during their work and subjected those employees to potential discipline for sitting down. This discipline occurred even though their job duties did not require standing. Even if some employees were not actually prohibited from sitting down during work hours, they were not provided with chairs, stools, or adequate seating by their employer. While employee seating may not seem like a hot-button issue to you, it is important to many employees who experience foot pain, back pain, or other ailments from standing for long hours unnecessarily.
In this case, Kilby v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc., our state’s Supreme Court ruled that in some situations, employers are required to allow employees to take a seat and that the employers must provide adequate seating. To determine whether your business is required to provide chairs and allow sitting, you must consider many factors regarding the operations of your business and the duties of your employees. If the following are true, this court ruling and the new requirements may apply to your business:
- Taking a seat would not disrupt or affect the work performance of the employee;
- The workspace layout would permit chairs or other seating (you cannot intentionally alter the layout aiming to avoid seating);
- Even if some duties require standing, others may be performed while sitting down.
Industries that may be most affected by this ruling include manufacturers, retail stores, and banks. For example, even if you believe your employees look more professional when they stand at the cash register, you now must allow them to sit – and must provide a stool or chair – if their cash register duties can still be performed from a sitting position.
Contact a San Jose Business Lawyer Today
While seating at work may seem like a frivolous concern to many business owners, failure to comply with any law can result in serious liability. At Structure Law Group, we work to ensure your business is in full compliance with all applicable California and federal laws. Call today at 408-441-7500 for more information.