Among the hardest-to-find workers in America today are restaurant and retail workers. The current labor market is the tightest in 49 years, and for the past year, there have been roughly a million more open positions in the United States than people looking for work. The hospitality sector always has faced recruitment challenges, but the recently shrinking applicant pool has forced employers to look for creative ways to lure workers to jobs in the food service and retail industries.
On May 8, 2019, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) issued a unanimous opinion holding that salespeople who are paid solely on draws and commissions are entitled to separate and additional overtime and Sunday pay under Massachusetts law. The decision has far-reaching implications for most retailers, which have long relied on opinion letters from the Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards (DLS) suggesting that commissioned employees are not entitled to such additional compensation.
In a ruling that will have a significant impact on the retail and restaurant industries, among others in California, the California Court of Appeal ruled that a retail employer’s call-in scheduling policy—in which employees were required to call the employer in advance of a shift to find out if they needed to show up for
Philadelphia enters the predictive scheduling mix with its newly signed Fair Workweek Employment Standards Ordinance, which will become effective January 1, 2020.
Bringing at least temporary relief to hundreds of businesses operating in Arizona, the state’s presiding disciplinary judge entered an order suspending Arizona attorney Peter Strojnik from the practice of law on an indefinite basis.
Many employers, particularly those that employ a significant number of part-time and casual workers, will be quite pleased by the Ontario government’s decision to reverse a controversial part of the amendments to labour and employment legislation that it introduced last year, specifically provisions relating to the calculation of public holiday pay.
On April 25, 2018, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) issued proposed rules implementing Oregon’s predictive scheduling law, Senate Bill 828, which will take effect on July 1, 2018.
On March 1, 2018, the Massachusetts Attorney General (AG) issued detailed guidance on the amendments to the Massachusetts Equal Pay Act (MEPA), which are set to go into effect on July 1, 2018. The amendments, which were enacted in 2016, will overhaul MEPA, a law that has been in effect for over 70 years, and make it one of the strictest pay equity laws in the nation.
The House of Representatives passed a bill on February 15, 2018, that requires Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Title III plaintiffs to provide businesses with notice and an opportunity to cure any barriers before filing suit. The Senate must also pass a version of the bill before it can be sent to the White House for signing. Senate passage is reported as uncertain.
On December 14, 2017, in The Boeing Company, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) reversed the 2004 decision in Lutheran Heritage that had created an unworkable standard that had made most employee handbooks across the nation unlawful in the view of the Board.
On November 10, 2017, the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) released draft regulations that would amend the rules for scheduling employees covered by the Minimum Wage Order for Miscellaneous Industries and Occupations (Miscellaneous Wage Order). Specifically, the proposed rules would revise Sections 142-2.3 and 142-3.3 of the Miscellaneous Wage Order regarding call-in pay.
As we previously reported, New York City retail and fast food employers must prepare for the Fair Workweek Law set to go into effect on November 26, 2017. On October 16, 2017 the Department of Consumer Affairs Office of Labor Policy and Standards (DCA) published much anticipated proposed rules to implement the Fair Workweek Law and provide needed guidance to covered employers.
It’s that time of year again—many employers, especially retailers and hospitality employers, are hiring seasonal workers for the holiday shopping season. Despite the challenge of adding so many employees in a short period of time, human resources departments should be cautious of taking shortcuts with recruiting, onboarding, and training.
The Connecticut Supreme Court’s holding in Williams v. General Nutrition Centers, Inc., No. SC 19829 (August 17, 2017) is a mixed bag for Connecticut employers.
California’s Equal Restroom Access Act, which requires some establishments with single-occupancy restrooms to display signs indicating that the restroom is gender-neutral, has been in effect since March 1, 2017.
The Oregon governor is expected to soon sign Senate Bill 828, which will impose predictive scheduling requirements on large employers in certain industries. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the new law.
Georgia’s Minimum Wage Law (O.C.G.A. § 34-4-1 et seq.) already prohibits local governments from requiring employers to pay employees a wage rate that exceeds what is required under state or federal law. This same law also prohibits local governments from requiring employers to provide employment benefits not otherwise required by state or federal law.
Scheduling employees in retail and fast food establishments will now be a costly and confusing obstacle for employers. On May 30, 2017, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed into law a legislative package consisting of five bills, collectively dubbed the “Fair Workweek” legislation.
At a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) budget hearing before the Subcommittee for Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies of the Appropriations Committee for the U.S. House of Representatives, Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta provided insight as to the Department of Labor’s plans “to look at the overtime [rule] as a general matter” and the salary level in the 2016 Part 541 rule.
San Francisco’s notoriously employee-friendly ordinances continue to set the standard for its neighboring cities. Emeryville, which is across the bay from San Francisco and neighbors Oakland, recently passed a fair workweek ordinance that patterns itself off of San Francisco’s Retail Workers Bill of Rights.
Wage and hour class action jurisprudence continues to twist and turn down an unusual path. As a consequence of the limited consistent case precedent in this area, hospitality employers defending against these claims face difficulty in accurately predicting their legal outcome.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey just signed into law an amendment to the Arizonans with Disabilities Act (AzDA) designed to make it more difficult to bring lawsuits against businesses based on claims that they are not accessible to individuals with disabilities. The amendment requires potential plaintiffs to give business owners notice of alleged access violations and allows businesses 30-90 days to correct the issues before a lawsuit can be filed.
On March 20, 2017, a federal district judge in Los Angeles granted Domino’s Pizza’s motion to dismiss a website accessibility lawsuit in a ruling that raises hopes for those battling the massive wave of web accessibility litigation and arguably makes it more difficult for businesses to decide between fight or flight.
On February 28, 2017, the California Court of Appeal issued a significant decision in Vaquero v. Stoneledge Furniture LLC (No. B269657). The decision, which was certified for publication, is the first ruling by a California appellate court requiring employers to separately compensate commissioned employees—as opposed to employees paid by piece rate—for rest periods.
An Arizona judge dismissed more than 1,100 lawsuits against Arizona businesses alleging that their parking lots are not accessible to persons with disabilities. Judge David M. Talamante rejected the plaintiffs’ argument that the Arizonans with Disabilities Act (AzDA) permits any person who believes a place of public accommodation has violated the act to bring a civil action.
It was only a matter of time until the flood of litigation over the accessibility of websites to persons with disabilities reached Arizona. Recently it did when an Arizona man and his attorney filed lawsuits against four Arizona businesses alleging that their websites are not accessible to blind and visually impaired consumers in violation of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and the Arizonans with Disabilities Act (AzDA). All of the lawsuits were filed in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona by Joseph Charles on behalf of James Close, who claims to be a resident of Texas and legally blind.
In 2016, several technology companies received or responded to proposals from investors that requested shareholder votes regarding whether the companies should be required to prepare reports addressing their policies and goals to reduce the gender pay gap. This year, shareholder activists are turning their sights on the retail industry, citing concerns with pay gaps across gender and racial lines. According to a January 10, 2017 report in Bloomberg News, pay equity-related shareholder resolutions have been submitted to several major retailers.
The coming of a new year always presents uncertainty for retail employers on the labor and employment front, but particularly so this year with the coming of the Trump administration and Republican majority in Congress. Questions abound about whether and how the Trump administration will roll back the Obama administration’s executive orders and rulemaking in the employment arena, what the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will look like and do, and how the Trump administration’s new appointments to the federal bench may shape the interpretation of laws impacting retail employers into the future.
The City of Miami Beach passed a wage ordinance in June 2016 that would increase the minimum wage for employment within the municipality to $10.31 effective January 1, 2018, and increasing $1.00 each year until reaching $13.31 in 2021.
November and December account for a substantial portion of retail sales—up to 30 percent of annual sales for some businesses. And while there are reports that this holiday shopping season has been delayed due to the presidential election, sales are still expected to top last year’s. A survey conducted by the National Retail Federation predicts that retailers will hire almost 700,000 seasonal workers to meet their needs this holiday season.