Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Jackpot Harvesting Co. v. Superior Ct.

Jackpot Harvesting Co. v. Superior Ct. (CA6 H044764 8/14/18) Piece Rate/Rest and NP Time

Labor Code section 226.2, which became effective January 1, 2016, addresses the manner in which piece-rate employees are to be compensated for rest and recovery periods and other nonproductive time on the job (collectively, rest/NP time).  Subdivision (b) of the statute (hereafter section 226.2(b)) provides a safe harbor for an employer that, prior to 2016, failed to properly compensate its piece-rate workers for rest/NP time. Under section 226.2(b), an employer that pays its employees for previously unpaid rest/NP time accrued between July 1, 2012 and December 31, 2015, is entitled to assert “an affirmative defense to any claim or cause of action . . . based solely on the employer’s failure to timely pay the employee the compensation due for [rest/NP time] . . . for time periods prior to and including December 31, 2015.”

This lawsuit concerns whether an employer complying with the requirements of section 226.2(b) has a safe harbor against any employee claims for rest/NP time accruing prior to and including December 31, 2015, or has an affirmative defense only to those claims accruing between July 1, 2012 and December 31, 2015.  We will conclude that under the plain and unambiguous language of section 226.2(b), an employer complying with the statute has an affirmative defense against any employee claims for rest/NP time accruing prior to and including December 31, 2015.

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