On February 25, 2021, the California Supreme Court ruled that rounding time entries for meal periods is unlawful, in Donohue v. AMN Services, LLC. In this case, the employer’s electronic timekeeping system rounded employee time punches to the nearest 10-minute increment. The employer believed this policy was lawful under the 2012 California Court of Appeal case of See’s Candy Shops, Inc. v. Superior Court, which held that employers may use rounding for employee’s time punches at the beginning and the end of their shifts as long as (i) the rounding procedure is fair and neutral on its face and (ii) the employer’s rounding over a period of time does not undercompensate employees for time actually worked. But the Supreme Court held that rounding is not appropriate for meal periods given the precise time requirements associated with meal periods.
On February 22, 2021, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that a wife’s civil lawsuit for personal injury based on her husband becoming infected with Covid-19 at work and subsequently infecting the wife at home was barred because California’s workers’ compensation statutes provide the exclusive remedy to the extent the employer may have any liability for the wife’s alleged harm (Kuciemba et al v. Victory Woodworks, Inc.). One of the issues in the case was “take home liability,” which is liability for employers in tort to family members of employees who injure their families at home due to some sort of toxic contamination suffered by the employee at work. The court did not rule on that issue, but, in holding that workers compensation was the exclusive remedy, the court limited the applicability of “take home liability” in the context of the spread of an infectious disease that may be traceable to the workplace.
–Adam K. Treiger, Esq.