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Midyear California Employment Law
Review of Food & Beverage Industry

Posted April 2022 by S. Ward Heinrichs

Midyear California Employment Law Review of Food & Beverage Industry

FAST Recovery Act:
The Fast-Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act (FAST Recovery Act) bill is now in a Senate Committee. The Committee has a hearing set for June 1, 2022, to consider the bill.

As you may recall from an article drafted earlier this year, AB 257, the FAST Recovery Act, would provide fast-food workers with sector-wide representation. An 11-member council, appointed by the California Governor, would promulgate minimum standards for health, safety, working conditions, training, and wages for the entire fast-food industry.

If the bill becomes law it would apply to fast-food restaurants operating under a common brand or restaurants that share standardized decor, marketing, packaging, products, and services. However, it would not apply to small restaurant chains because they must have at least 30 stores nationwide before the FAST Recovery Act would apply.

Businesses qualify as fast-food restaurants when they primarily provide food in the following way: 1) In disposable containers, 2) For immediate consumption either on or off the premises, 3) With limited or no table service, 4) To customers who order or select items and pay before eating.

Minimum Wage & Salary:
For California employers with 25 or fewer employees, the minimum wage will be $14 per hour. For employers with more than 25 employees, the minimum wage will increase to $15 per hour. Other cities in California also require a higher minimum wage than the state.

Minimum salaries required for employees to qualify as exempt are twice the statewide California minimum wage. Accordingly, exempt employees, who work for employers who have 25 or fewer employees, must earn at least $58,240 per year ($14/hour x 2 x 2080 hours/year), and exempt employees, who work for employers who have at least 26 employees, must earn $62,400 per year ($15/hour x 2 x 2080 hours/year).

Women Not Required to Be on Board of Directors:
As discussed earlier this year on Big Blend Radio, California had passed two laws that required corporate boards to have both women and underrepresented communities on their Boards of Directors. Specifically, Senate Bill (SB) 826 required women to be on those boards, and Assembly Bill (AB) 979 required members of underrepresented communities to also be on those boards. The exact number from each group required to be on Corporate Boards depended on the number of board members on each board.

Now two separate courts have issued orders that strike down those laws. The plaintiffs named in those lawsuits challenged each law on behalf of taxpayers. Crest v. Padilla, aka Crest I, had said the use of tax revenue to require women to be on Boards of Directors violated the California Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause, and Crest v. Padilla, aka Crest II, claimed that the use of tax revenue to require underrepresented communities to be on Boards of Directors violated the California Equal Protection Clause too.

The last time we discussed the cases, the judge in Crest II had struck down AB 979 for violating the Equal Protection Clause. Since then, the judge in Crest I struck down SB 826 for violating the Equal Protection Clause.

Litigation in other similar lawsuits continues in both state and federal courts. California has not filed an appeal in either Crest I or Crest II yet because neither court has yet filed a final judgment. The state will have 60 days to file an appeal after the courts issue judgments.

COVID-19 Laws:
California does not require mask-wearing anywhere, but each City, County, and other incorporated body may require mask-wearing if they see fit.

Employment Law Office of Ward Heinrichs
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858-292-0792
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Employment Law Office of WARD HEINRICHS

4565 Ruffner St. Suite 207 San Diego 92111

858-292-0792

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