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California Supreme Court Says Retail Workers Should Be Able to Sit Down

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California Retail Employees May Get to Work Sitting Down

Are you a retail worker that is required to stand all day in your workplace?

If you are a retail worker, I probably don't need to tell you that retail workers often suffer back pain, swollen feet and ankles, and other bodily aches as a result of their jobs—even if the position doesn’t require heavy lifting. These effects can all be caused by the physical strain of standing for long periods, damaging employees’ joints and bones and leading to missed days from work. But again, you probably have a sore back, feet and legs after working long hours already.

However, things may be changing for California workers who are required to stand for the entirety of their shifts. The California Supreme Court has recently ruled that workers should be allowed to sit during some or all of their workdays—a decision that could affect millions of employees.

Why is Bill Turley asked to testify concerning wage law legislation at the California State Senate and the California Assembly?

California's best wage lawyer - Bill Turley

A No B.S. straight-shooter lawyer

Believe it or not, Bill Turley is known for being a no B.S. straight-up lawyer. Besides being known as one of the leading experts on this area of the law in California, one of the reasons why Bill is asked to testify at legislature hearings is because he is known for being straight-forward and blunt. He is known for being no B.S., with no lawyer-talk, no double-talk.

California Supreme Court Rules Unanimously To Allow Retail Workers To Sit

Many companies require cashiers and customer service employees to stand, as allowing them to sit could make customers see the staff as lazy or inattentive. But the state Supreme Court disagrees, ruling that companies cannot force employees to stand all day if some job tasks can reasonably be performed while seated.

The ruling came in response to several class action lawsuits, which claimed that companies illegally require retail workers to stand during their shifts. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals requested clarification of the labor code by the state Supreme Court, the court replied that California workers may be seated:

If work is not affected: Workers can be allowed to sit based on “the totality of the circumstances,” such as whether or not a chair impedes, prevents, or otherwise interferes with job performance.

If some tasks require standing: Employees should not be denied seats if they work in a single location, even if some tasks must be done while standing.

If the workspace permits: While the court allowed that the physical layout of the workspace will factor into whether or not a seat can be provided, it did rule that employers cannot purposely design work spaces to prohibit sitting or make standing preferable.

At the employer’s expense: Not only are employers expected to make reasonable changes to work spaces to accommodate seats, they are also required to provide the employees with proper chairs or stools.

The ruling may be clear to employees, but it could take a while before companies implement changes that allow workers to take a seat.

Specifically, the California Supreme Court ruled: 

The California Supreme Court held in the Kilby case, that employees who spend a substantial part of the day on job duties that require standing still may be entitled to a seat if other job duties performed at a particular work station reasonably could be performed while sitting.  The court imposed on California employers the burden of proving that, even if a job theoretically could be performed while sitting, there is not available any type of seating that would be suitable, which would absolve the employer of liability.

Kilby v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc., 63 Cal. 4th 1, 24 (2016).

Must the retail company provide me a place to sit down?

Generally, the answer is Yes, under California wage law. Based upon this ruling, if it is reasonable to provide suitable seating, then the employer must either provide you with seating (read: a place to sit down) or be able to prove that seating is not suitable for your job. Which, of course, is usually difficult to prove. 

What can I do if the employer does not provide me with seating? 

Under California law, you can bring a lawsuit under PAGA in order to enforce your right to seating under the California Wage Orders. 

Can I bring a suitable seating case, even if I don't work in a retail store? 

Most California employees can bring a lawsuit due to the the company not providing a place to sit. 

Getting your settlement check for unpaid wages! YES!!
Getting your settlement check for unpaid wages! YES!!


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Disclaimer: Please understand these discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, endorsement and/or discussion does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation and/or this particular case/ situation.

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