• Dean Royer

February 2021 employment law decisions

No rounding of hours worked for determining premium wages for meal period violations.

February 25, 2021, Supreme Court of California, Donahue v. AMN Services, LLC: The Supreme Court of California addressed two issues regarding California’s meal period law that requires one 30-minute period no later than the end of the fifth hour of work and another 30-minute period no later than the end of the tenth hour of work; and for every period not provided the employer must pay the employee one additional hour of premium pay. First, the court decided that employers cannot adjust the hours an employee has actually worked to the nearest preset time increment for purposes of determining whether the proper payment of premium wages for meal period violations. Second, time records showing noncompliant meal periods raise a rebuttable presumption of meal period violations.


Electromagnetic sensitivity may support a reasonable accommodation claim.

February 18, 2021, Second District Court of Appeal, Laurie Brown v. Los Angeles Unified School District: The trial court dismissed Brown’s claim for failure to provide reasonable accommodation for an alleged electromagnetic sensitivity disability. The court of appeal rejected the school district’s argument that this condition is not a recognized disability under federal law. Brown’s claim was brought under California law for which the definition of physical disability would include Brown’s condition that she alleged limited her ability to work.


California based pilots and flight attendants are protected by California’s wage statement law.

February 2, 2021, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal, Charles Ward v. United Airlines, Inc.: The Ninth Circuit decided that California’s wage statement law is not preempted by federal law with respect to its application to pilots and flight attendants who reside in California but spend most of their time working outside of California.

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