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Seating Option Violations in California

Seating arrangements at your job are usually so common that they’re taken for granted. But depending on the work you do, seating may be an integral part of your job. Although seating may seem simple, it’s actually a legal requirement that employers have to provide to their workers in California.

And even though the law requires seating options, many employers refuse to provide it. When that happens, it may constitute violations of state law.

Maison Law Will Give You the Representation You Deserve

At Maison Law, we believe that every one of our clients deserves a tailored approach to their particular case. When your employer violates your rights in the workplace, whether it be failing to provide you with seating or subjecting you to a hostile work environment, our team of experienced California employment lawyers can help. Contact us today to set up a free, no-obligation consultation to get the representation you deserve.

What are the Seating Option Laws in California?

Part of California’s Labor Code, enforced by the Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) outlines the various laws requiring proper seating for employees. Specifically, Wage Order 4 sets regulations for California’s various types of occupations, usually split into the following categories:

  • Professional
  • Technical
  • Clerical
  • Mechanical

Part of these regulations includes seating options, which are outlined in Section 14(A).  This provision dictates that employers must provide:

  • Suitable seating for employees when it is reasonable to do so

The specific seating requirements for employees in California depend on certain factors, like the nature of the work they do and the type of industry they work in. Generally speaking, though, the law requires the following as it pertains to seating:

  • If the nature of the work reasonably permits the use of seats, then employers must provide suitable seating for employees.
  • If employees are not engaged in the active duties of their employment and the nature of the work requires standing, then employers must provide an adequate number of suitable seats in reasonable proximity to the work area and employees shall be permitted to use such seats when it does not interfere with the performance of their duties.
  • Seating must be designed and placed to minimize awkward positions and to promote good posture.
  • Seating must be designed and placed to minimize contact stress and maintain adequate blood circulation.
  • Seating must be designed and placed to minimize the risk of injury from repetitive motion, awkward postures, and forceful exertions.
  • Seating must be adjusted to accommodate the employee’s body size, work surface height, and other factors.

Exceptions

While California law generally requires employers to provide suitable seating for employees when the nature of their work reasonably permits the use of seats, there are some exceptions where seating may not be required or may not be feasible. Here are some examples:

  • Retail sales – Employers in the retail industry are not required to provide seating if the nature of the work involves standing while interacting with customers. However, if the employee is performing other tasks that do not require standing, such as working on a computer or completing paperwork, then the employer must provide seating if it is reasonable to do so.
  • Janitorial and housekeeping – Employers in the janitorial and housekeeping industry are not required to provide seating if the nature of the work involves standing while performing tasks that cannot be performed while seated, such as mopping, vacuuming, or cleaning toilets.
  • Security guards – Employers in the security guard industry are not required to provide seating if the nature of the work involves standing while performing tasks that require constant vigilance, such as monitoring surveillance cameras or patrolling a facility.
  • Healthcare – Employers in the healthcare industry are not required to provide seating if the nature of the work involves standing while providing care to patients or performing tasks that cannot be performed while seated, such as lifting patients or performing surgery.
  • Transportation – Employers in the transportation industry, such as drivers and pilots, are not required to provide seating if the nature of the work involves standing or operating a vehicle or machinery.

Common Seating Option Violations in California

With these requirements, employees have clear rights when it comes to seating in the workplace. Even with these legal requirements in place, employers routinely either violate these requirements or try to get around them. While it may seem obvious, it’s always helpful to understand how employers violate these requirements. Here are some of the most common seating option violations in California:

  • Failing to provide suitable seating – Employers are required to provide suitable seating to employees when the nature of their work reasonably permits the use of seats. If an employer fails to provide seating or provides seating that is not suitable for the job duties, they may violate California’s labor laws.
  • Prohibiting the use of available seating – If an employer provides suitable seating but prohibits employees from using it, they may violate the law. Employers must allow employees to use suitable seating when it does not interfere with the performance of their job duties.
  • Failing to adjust seating for individual employees – Employers must adjust the seating to accommodate an employee’s body size, work surface height, and other factors. If an employer fails to make these adjustments, they may violate the law.
  • Placing seating in a location that is not reasonably accessible – Seating must be placed in reasonable proximity to the work area to allow employees to use it when it does not interfere with their job duties. If an employer places seating in a location that is not reasonably accessible, they may violate the law.
  • Failing to document the reasons for not providing seating – If an employer determines that seating is not feasible or reasonable for their specific work environment, they must document the reasons why. If an employer fails to document these reasons, they may violate the law.

Like other laws, these violations allow you or other employees to take action against your employer. Before you decide to take that step, consulting with our team can give you a clear picture of what to expect.

What is the Process Like For Seating Violation Claims in California?

As is standard with other workplace violations, there is a set process in place when you decide to pursue legal action against your employer when they violate California’s laws relating to seating options in the workplace. Generally, the process includes the following steps:

  • Filing a complaint – To initiate the process, you must complete a complaint form provided by the Labor Commissioner’s office. The form can be obtained online or in-person at any local office of the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE). The form requires you to provide details of the alleged violation, including the employer’s name, address, and the dates and times of the violation.
  • Investigation – The Labor Commissioner’s office will investigate the complaint by interviewing you, conducting an inspection of the workplace, and reviewing relevant documents. The investigation may take several weeks or months, depending on the complexity of the case.
  • Ruling – After completing the investigation, the Labor Commissioner’s office will issue a decision. If the Labor Commissioner finds that the employer violated California’s seating requirements, they will issue a citation and order the employer to take corrective action. The employer may be required to provide suitable seating, pay back wages owed to the employee, and pay penalties and fines.

Once the administrative process is completed, you will then have the option to either accept the ruling made by the Labor Commissioner’s Office, or file a civil lawsuit. A lawsuit initiates the litigation process, which can be complex and challenging. However, a successful claim may lead to the recovery of available benefits and support under the law that include:

  • Lost or unpaid wages
  • Liquidated damages
  • Waiting time penalties
  • Emotional distress
  • Attorneys fees

The damages that you may receive in one of these claims ultimately depend on the specific facts of your case. In order to make sure that you receive a full and fair result, consult with our team of experienced California employment lawyers.

Contact Maison Law Today For a Free Consultation

No employee in California deserves to have their rights violated. Unfortunately, violations occur every day throughout the state’s various workplaces. If your employer has violated your workplace rights, including denying you adequate seating options, don’t wait to seek the legal help you need.

At Maison Law, we can help you understand your rights and options. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation and discuss your case. We will work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the compensation and justice you deserve.

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