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Were You Fired for Not Making Your Quota at Work?
Do you or did you work at a fulfillment center or warehouse distribution center used for receiving and sending out products for consumer delivery? If you have worked at such a facility, were you expected to complete a certain number of tasks within a certain amount of time—what may or may not have been described to you as a quota? Are you considering working at such a facility? Do you have a friend or family member who works or worked at such a facility? If your answer to any of these questions is “yes,” then the following is information you should know.The Basic Rights of California Workers
Nonexempt California workers have several basic rights. California workers have the right to earn a living in a workplace that is safe and healthful. California workers have the right to receive rest breaks and meal breaks in accordance with state law. California workers have the right to receive one additional hour of pay at their regular rate of pay for each workday that an employer fails to provide them a lawful rest break or meal break. California Workers have the right to receive an overtime rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 8 hours in a workday or 40 hours in a workweek. California Workers have the right to notify a government agency when they have cause to believe that their employer made or enforced a policy that violates a law.The Proliferation of E-Commerce and Warehouse Distribution Centers Threatens the Basic Rights of Innumerable California Workers
More than ever Californians rely on warehouse workers for the distribution of food and supplies by means of home delivery. The rapid growth of e-commerce and the race to provide the fastest deliveries at the lowest cost has jeopardized workers’ rights in serious ways. Specifically, the rapid growth of just-in-time logistics (a business model of receiving raw materials, products, and parts at a warehouse as needed for consumer delivery as opposed to the traditional approach of maintaining an inventory) and same-day and next-day consumer package delivery, and technological advances in tracking employee productivity, have led to an increase in the number of distribution center and warehouse workers who are subject to work production quotas.Quotas Affect the Rights of Warehouse Distribution Center Employees
When a distribution center or warehouse worker works under such a work production quota system, the employer expects for the worker to complete a quantifiable number of tasks within a specific period of time. These periods of time may be measured to the minute or even to the second. If the worker fails to meet the quota—and particularly if the worker repeatedly fails to meet the quota—the worker may be subject to suspension or termination.Quotas Affect the Health and Safety of Warehouse Distribution Center Employees
The quotas mainly affect workers who are already in physically-demanding jobs. The quotas increase the likelihood that workers will suffer a work injury because they are rushing to get the job done. The quotas also encourage workers, many of whom depend on their jobs to provide for their families, to engage in unsafe work habits in order to get more done in less time. What makes this worse is that many of these worksites direct their injured workers to an in-house first aid clinic that provides inadequate treatment and then immediately directs the worker back to work as opposed to sending them out for proper medical care as required under California workers’ compensation laws.Assembly Bill No. 701
AB 701 was introduced to address these infringements on the rights of California workers. AB 701 was approved by Governor Gavin Christopher Newsom on September 22, 2021. AB 701 went into effect on January 1, 2022. AB 701 amends California Labor Code section 138.7 and also adds sections 2100 through 2122.Who Does Assembly Bill No. 701 Apply to?
The law applies to nonexempt workers who work at warehouse distribution centers. California Labor Code section 2100(d). Nonexempt workers are workers who are entitled to overtime compensation and other protections under California wage and hour laws.
The law applies to employers that directly or indirectly, or through an agent, including a third-party employer, temporary service, or staffing agency, employs or exercises control over the wages, hours, or working conditions of 100 or more employees at a single warehouse distribution center or 1,000 or more employees at one or more warehouse distribution centers in California. California Labor Code section 2100(f).How Does Assembly Bill No. 701 Protect Workers? Subject Employers Must Provide Subject Workers With Written Descriptions of Quotas
The law requires subject employers to provide to subject workers a written description of any quota that applies to the worker and any potential adverse employment action that could result from failing to meet the quota. California Labor Code section 2101. An adverse employment action is any termination, suspension, demotion, reprimand, loss of pay, refusal to promote, or other action that is detrimental to the worker’s rights or interests.Certain Quotas are Deemed Unlawful
The law prohibits subject employers from enforcing a quota if meeting the quota would prevent the worker from taking all lawful meal and rest periods, or would affect their ability to use or to safety travel to or from bathroom facilities. California Labor Code section 2102.Upon Request, Subject Employers Must Provide Subject Workers With Their Personal Work Speed Data
Under the law, if a subject current or former employee believes that meeting a quota caused a violation of their right to meal or rest periods or required them to violate any occupational health and safety law, they may request, and the employer must provide, a written description of each quota the employee is or was subject to and a copy of the past 90 days of the worker’s personal work speed data, assuming the employer monitors this data. California Labor Code section 2104.Subject Workers May File a Lawsuit to Force Subject Employers to Comply With the Law
Under the law, a subject current or former employee may file a lawsuit in civil court to require the employer to abide by the provisions of the law. If the employee prevails in the lawsuit, the employee would be entitled to attorney fees and costs. California Labor Code section 2108.Contact Us
If your former employer fired you for not making a quota or your employer or former employer has otherwise violated AB 701, or if you believe your employer or former employer has violated your rights in some other way, call the experienced employment attorneys at Kokozian Law Firm, APC or Contact us via our online form.