This litigation website contains important information regarding the Williamson v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. class action (Case No. 5:09-CV-03339-EJD) which is currently pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California before the Honorable Edward J. Davila. This website is intended for the use of class members in the Williamson v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. case.
HISTORY OF THE WILLIAMSON v. WAL-MART STORES, INC. CASE:
Plaintiff, Kathy Williamson, is a former employee of Wal-Mart. Ms. Williamson was employed by Wal-Mart in California as a cashier from approximately March 2008 to August 2008. On June 11, 2009, Ms. Williamson filed her Complaint against Wal-Mart alleging that Wal-Mart violated the California Labor Code and Private Attorneys General Act by failing to provide cashiers with seats/stools during the performance of their work at the check stand areas. To review a copy of the Complaint, click here.
Following substantial discovery, on August 24, 2012, the Honorable Edward J. Davila certified this case as a class action. To review a copy of the Order granting class certification, click here. The Court certified the following class:
“All persons who, during the applicable statute of limitations, were employed by Wal-Mart in the State of California in the position of Cashier.”
Wal-Mart appealed the Court’s Order granting class certification to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. On June 28, 2016, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the Court’s certification Order and denied Wal-Mart’s appeal. For a copy of the Ninth Circuit’s decision, click here.
On December 24, 2016, the court-approved Notice of the Pendency of this Class Action will be mailed to all persons who, during the applicable statute of limitations, were employed by Wal-Mart in the State of California in the position of Cashier. For a copy of the Notice, click here. There are over 80,000 current and former employees of Wal-Mart who are potential class members in this case. The parties are currently engaged in discovery regarding the merits of Plaintiff’s claim that the nature of a cashier’s work reasonable permits the use of a seat. No trial date has been set in this case.
WHO REPRESENTS THE CLASS:
The Class Members in this case are represented by the following law firms who were appointed by the Court to act as class counsel: Jones Law Firm www.cjoneslawfirm.com, Righetti Glugoski P.C. www.righettilaw.com and Clapp and Lauinger P.C. If you would like to contact class counsel about this case, or receive more information about this case, email [email protected] or [email protected].
WHAT ARE THE CLAIMS BEING ALLEGED:
For more than 40 years, California law has required retail employers, such as Wal-Mart, to provide suitable seats to their employees when the nature of the employees’ work reasonably permits the use of a seat. The current version of the law, which has remained largely unchanged since 1976, provides:
(a) All working employees shall be provided with suitable seats when the nature of the work reasonably permits the use of a seat.
(b) When employees are not engaged in the active duties of their employment and the nature of the work reasonably requires standing, an adequate number of suitable seats shall be placed 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. IWC Wage Order 7-2001 §14.
In this case, Ms. Williamson claims that Wal-Mart violated California Law by failing to provide seats / stools to its California cashiers during the performance of their work. Plaintiff alleges that the nature of a cashier’s work at Wal-Mart reasonably permits the use of a seat if and when a cashier wishes to use a seat.
The attorneys representing the class are in the process of gathering evidence to support this case and are interested in hearing from you about your experience as a Wal-Mart cashier in California. In order to assist the attorneys in prosecuting this case, and to update your contact information, please complete and submit the attached pdf form. The information you provide on this form will be treated as confidential, will be used for the prosecution of this action and will not be made public or otherwise provided to anyone other than the attorneys prosecuting this case.
WHAT RECOVERY IS BEING SOUGHT:
A violation of the seating laws gives rise to civil penalties under section 2699(f)(2). The default penalty amount is $100 for each aggrieved employee per pay period for an initial violation and $200 for each aggrieved employee per pay period for each subsequent violation. According to Amaral v. Cintas Corp. No. 2 (2008) 163 Cal.App.4th 1157, 1209, “initial” violations occur before the employer is notified about the violation (such as by the filing of a lawsuit) and “subsequent” violations occur after notification. (See also In re Taco Bell Wage & Hour Actions (E.D. Cal. April 8, 2016) 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48557, *24-25 [PAGA penalties accrue at the rate of $100 per pay period before the filing of the lawsuit and $200 thereafter].)
This case also seeks injunctive relief: namely, that Wal-Mart provide some type of suitable seat to its cashiers and notify them in writing that they are allowed to use the seat while operating the cash register.
WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP:
The attorneys representing the class are in the process of gathering evidence to support this case and are interested in hearing from you about your experience as a Wal-Mart cashier in California. In order to assist the attorney’s in prosecuting this case, and to update your contact information, please complete and submit the attached pdf form. The information you provide on this form will be kept confidential, will be used for the prosecution of this action and will not be made public or otherwise provided to anyone other than the attorneys prosecuting this case.
LINKS TO OTHER COURT DECISIONS REGARDING CALIFORNIA’S SEATING LAWS
There have been several important state and federal court decisions issued regarding the claims alleged in this case
1. Kilby v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc.:
- On April 6, 2016 the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of CVS cashiers by rejecting two federal district court interpretations of California’s employer regulations. The Supreme Court held that all working employees shall be provided with suitable seats when the nature of the work reasonably permits the use of seats. View Supreme Court Decision
2. Nisha Brown et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc.:
- On June 8, 2016, the Ninth Circuit court of Appeals rejected employer arguments and upheld the district court’s order granting class certification. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will have to face a class of workers accusing the company of violating California law by failing to provide seats for its cashiers. This decision sends the matter back to district court for trial. View Decision.
3. Green v. Bank of America
- First Appeal: On February 3, 2013 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Righetti Glugoski’s clients by holding that the district court (Judge Manuel Real) erred. The Court of Appeal held that (a) the National Banking Act does not preempt California’s wage and hour regulations, and (b) the district court erred in finding that employees must request a seat before the employer is required to provide one. View Decision.
- Second Appeal: After returning to the district court following the first appeal, the district judge dismissed the case again. On October 13, 2015 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals again reversed the district court judge finding that sufficient notice had been provided to the bank under the PAGA. The Court of Appeal then took the unusual step of removing Judge Real from the case and reassigning the case to a new judge. View Decision.
4. Home Depot v. Superior Court (2011) 191 Cal.App.4th 210 (review denied March 16, 2011) (holding PAGA applicable to seating claims on grounds that Labor Code §1198 incorporates IWC Wage Order protections). View Decision
5. Bright v. 99 Cents Only Stores (2010) 189 Cal.App.4th 1472 (review denied February 16, 2011) (same). View Decision
6. Hall v. Rite Aid Corporation, 226 Cal.App.4th 278 (2014, review denied August 27, 2014) (Court of appeal reversed trial court’s order granting decertification of seating claims brought on behalf of Rite Aid cashiers). View Decision