Most employers in California are required to provide workers with seating. IN fact, there are certain occupations in which sitting is an integral part of the job – but even when seating isn’t an important part of a job, employers may have to provide seats for break times. Here’s what you need to know.
What Do California’s “Wage Orders” Say About Seating?
The California Industrial Welfare Commission has established “wage orders” that set out the rules for different types of businesses in the state. Wage Order 4, which covers professional, technical, clerical, mechanical, and similar occupations, says that workers must have “suitable seats” when the nature of the work reasonably permits the use of seats.
That means if you have a desk job in California, your employer must provide you with a seat – but if you’re working in a warehouse or on a construction site, it’s less likely that it’s required.
Are There Any Exceptions to the Rule?
There are a few exceptions to the rule requiring employers to provide workers with seating. For example, if providing seating would create a safety hazard, the employer is not required to do so. In addition, employers are not required to provide seating for workers who are “engaged in an occupation in which the wearing of bilateral hearing protectors is required by federal or state regulation.”
Related: 5 common ways employers violate wage and hour laws in California
Do Employers in California Have to Provide Seating for Break Times and Meal Times?
Although the rule requiring employers to provide workers with seating only applies when the nature of the work reasonably permits the use of seats, employers in California are required to provide workers with a place to sit during break times and meal times. For example, if you work in a retail store, your employer must provide you with a place to sit during your break time.
If you’re not given a place to sit during your break time or meal time, you may be able to file a complaint with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE).
Related: California workers’ rights to be paid fair wages for work
What Should You Do If Your Employer Violates Seating Rules?
If you believe that your employer has violated the rule requiring them to provide workers with seating, you may want to file a complaint with the DLSE. You can also consult with an experienced employment lawyer to learn more about your rights and options.
A Word on Suitable Seating Provided by California Employers
It’s important to note that the “suitable seating” required by California law doesn’t have to be particularly comfortable – it just has to be suitable for the nature of the work. For example, if you’re working in a call center, your employer may provide you with a hard plastic chair that isn’t particularly comfortable, but is still suitable for the job.
If you have any questions about whether your employer is required to provide you with seating, you should consult with an experienced Los Angeles employment lawyer.
What Happens to Employers That Violate Seating Laws in California?
If an employer in California violates the laws requiring them to provide workers with seating, they may be subject to a civil penalty of up to $100 for each violation. Additionally, the employer may be required to pay the worker’s attorney’s fees and costs if the worker decides to sue.
For a second or subsequent violation, the employer may be subject to a civil penalty of up to $200 for each violation.
Related: Does your immigration status affect your workplace rights in California?
Laws That Govern Seating for California Workers
Here’s a brief list of the laws that govern seating for California workers:
- Labor Code section 703.5: Requires employers to provide workers with “suitable seats” when the nature of the work reasonably permits the use of seats
- Labor Code section 1197.1: Requires employers to provide workers with a place to sit during break times and meal times
- 8 CCR 11040 (13)(A): Requires employers to provide workers with seating when the nature of the work reasonably permits the use of seats
- 8 CCR 11040 (14): Requires employers to provide workers with a place to sit during break times and meal times
There are other laws, as well, and if you’d like more information on them, your attorney can explain.
Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Seating in Your California Workplace?
If you believe your employer has violated the law when it comes to providing seating in your workplace, we may be able to help you. Call our office at 818-230-8380 or fill out the form below to schedule your free consultation with an experienced labor law attorney who understands the requirements employers must meet. We’ll answer your questions and do our best to help you resolve your situation.