One of the last things I’d ever want in professional life is to be a California employer. I’ve had to fill out insurance applications at work that ask as a standalone question, “do you have any employees based in California?”
I lived in California as a teenager and my family was in the car business there. A mechanic in their repair shop once cheated on his wife. She confronted him, when she learned he’d gotten an STD. So he went full on Shaggy Defense claiming to have gotten it at work – from a spider bite while fixing a car.
It didn’t matter that’s not how STDs work. They’re called sexually transmitted for a reason. Since he was fully committed to the story with his wife, he applied for workers comp. This being California, he got it. The state government helped keep his marriage together.
United Airlines just lost a ruling before a federal judge in California, certifying a class action lawsuit by flight attendants who claim information is missing off of their pay stubs – even though the information is provided to them in a separate document.
- United said that it doesn’t pay flight attendants hourly – they have a much more complicated pay formula that includes bidding and credits for time worked – so California’s rule requiring employers to “list hour rates” on pay stubs doesn’t apply and would be confusing in any case. The judge said sure that’s true but the law still applies.
“The court acknowledges that defendant’s pay scheme is complex, and that complying with [the labor code’s] requirements may not be straightforward,” the order says. “But that complication does not enable the court to disregard the plain language of [the statute].”
- United argued that they give flight attendants all of the information (‘pay advice’ and a monthly pay register). But the judge ruled it all has to be in the statement accompany each pay cycle “to help employees determine if they have been properly compensated” even – of course – while acknowledging that United breaking down pay into an hourly wage would be more confusing than helpful.
- United was criticized by the judge because its wage statement fails to list the employer’s name.
- United had previously argued that the flight attendants couldn’t sue under California law when they work primarily outside of California, and United isn’t based there. California’s Supreme Court says flight attendants based in California can sue. Any flight attendant based in California who didn’t work a majority of their time in a different state since August 6, 2014 will be included in the class. Of course California also argues it can tax non-residents who have never entered the state if their income has a California nexus.
United did get the claim thrown out that they violated the law by listing a P.O. box rather than a physical address on flight attendant wage statements. JetBlue faces a similar lawsuit in California.
Someone sued United for sending him text messages to help him not miss his flight so you really can sue for anything. And more proof that the rest of the country is becoming more like California, the EEOC sued United during the pandemic for not letting an alcohol pilot fly without going to AA first.