In a series of settlements negotiated by Altshuler Berzon LLP and its co-counsel, prominent retailers including CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid, and national banking institutions JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America have agreed to provide seats to all of their cashiers and tellers and to pay tens of millions of dollars in civil penalties.
The settlements, which have now received final court approval, arose in separate lawsuits filed under California’s “suitable seating” law (Wage Order §14) and the California Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA), which allows aggrieved workers to file a private right of action civil penalties on behalf of the State of California against employers that have committed Labor Code violations. The key provision of the seating law requires California employers to provide seats to all employees “when the nature of their work reasonably permits the use of a seat.”
Of the tens of millions of dollars recovered in these cases, 25% has been allocated to the aggrieved workers and 75% was paid to the State Labor and Workforce Development Agency to be specially earmarked for future Labor Code enforcement and education – the allocation scheme required by PAGA.
In 2019, as a result of these and other PAGA cases (including other seating cases in which Altshuler Berzon was co-counsel), the LWDA received more than $88 million in PAGA civil penalties.