Almost all employees have a right to sit down to do their jobs

Almost all employees have a right to sit down to do their jobs – if the nature of the work allows it. Under a once little-known legal provision, California employers must provide all employees “with suitable seats when the nature of the work reasonably permits the use of seats.” The California Supreme Court recently affirmed that this is, in fact, a legal requirement and that employers cannot get out of it simply by saying that standing is part of the job. Many employers, including retailers, had tried to argue that they require employees like cashiers to stand because standing does actually lead to better customer service or, alternatively, it leads to a perception by the customers of better customer service. The Supreme Court recently held that such issues do not determine the issue and that whether the work “reasonably permits” seating is based on the totality of the circumstances.

This ruling means that we are all likely to see more cashiers and others doing their work while seated on stools or chairs. If you are an employee and believe that you can do your job while sitting down, you may be able to enforce your right to a chair. Please call for a consultation.

For more information about the right to suitable seating, see Kilby v. CVS Pharmacy and the California Wage Orders.

The case will be complicated by the fact that the women and men are paid very differently. The women on the national team are paid a guaranteed salary and receive other protections like severance pay, injury pay, and paid maternity leave. The men, on the other hand, are paid on a strictly pay-to-play basis on a per game or per event basis.

The EEOC will investigate the players’ complaint and make a determination. The dispute may then end up in court. Of course, the parties may also reach an agreement to resolve the issue – the players are represented by a union and collectively bargain their pay deal with the U.S. Soccer Federation.

If you are a woman and believe that you are paid less than a male counterpart, you, like Carli Lloyd and our other soccer stars, may have a claim under the Equal Pay Act.
For more information on the Equal Pay Act, see these FAQs from the EEOC.

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