H.R. ALERT from Larry Levy - Employee Relations Management
Employment Laws passed in 2010 Is Travel Time Compensable? Heads up, contractors! As most of you know with non-exempt workers when they may drive your company truck from their home to the first jobsite the time is not compensable (you do not have to pay). The exception is when they are transporting building materials, lumber or heavy power equipment. If they stop at the lumber yard the compensable time starts when they pull into the lumber yard’s parking lot. This may be changing. In a recent federal case (Rutti v. Lojack Corp., Inc.). Rutti was a technician who installed the Lojack system and argued he should have been paid from the time he left his home to the time he arrived at his first customer location. The federal court reviewed the case and stated even with Rutti driving a company vehicle to the first location the time was not compensable. The court did find, however, that Rutti’s commute time was compensable under California law. California law requires that employees be compensated for all time “during which an employee is subject to the control of the employer”. The court did note that Rutti was required to drive a company vehicle, could not stop off for personal errands, could not take passengers, was required to drive the vehicle directly from home to his job and back and could not use his cell phone while driving. Therefore, during both his commute to his first customer location and from his final installation at the end of the day, Rutti was subject to the control of his employer, making his commute time compensable under California law.
So, what can you do? Consider the following: 1. No longer require employees to drive your trucks. Let them drive their personal vehicles. 2. Stipulate the time an employee must be at the jobsite and allow them to make personal stops enroute, e.g., stop for coffee and doughnuts. 3.
No longer prohibit employees from making personal calls on their personal cellular phone while enroute.
Same-Sex Marriages The Governor signed into law SB 54 amending the California Family Code and stipulating that California will recognize same-sex marriages contracted outside California prior to the passage of Proposition 8. Practically speaking this means that the same sex couples will enjoy the same rights, benefits, obligations, responsibilities and privileges as heterosexual couples.
Pregnancy Disability’s Accommodations This law was passed on September 15, 2010 and focused on expanding and clarifying current regulations. The current law allows pregnant women to take up to four months of unpaid leave before, during and after the birth of their newborn children. The law affects all California employers with five or more employees. Further, the law directs the employer to make certain accommodations to the pregnant woman before and after the four month leave. The following is a summary of these changes:
The law used to address only morning sickness as a disability but now has been expanded to include gestational diabetes, pregnancy induced hypertension, preeclampsia and loss or end of pregnancy as a pregnancy related disability.