California Court of Appeal Holds That “Joint Employers” Are Not Vicariously Liable For Each Other’s Alleged Meal Period Violations
In a case of first impression that may have a significant impact upon wage-hour class actions in California, the California Court of Appeal has held that “joint employers” are not vicariously liable for each other’s alleged meal period violations.
In reaching this conclusion, the Court of Appeal affirmed an award of summary judgment in favor of a temporary staffing company in a class action where the plaintiffs sought to hold the staffing company liable for alleged meal period violations they alleged they suffered while working for its client.
The decision provides something of a roadmap for what companies should consider doing if they wish to shield themselves from “joint employer” liability on wage-hour claims in California. Among the steps employers may want to take are providing employees with written instructions to inform the employer if they are ever prevented from taking meal periods, and including provisions in contracts requiring the entities that they do business with to comply with federal, state and local laws in their interactions with those employees.