La Face v. Ralphs Grocery Co., 2022 WL 498847 (Cal. Ct. App. 2022)

Jill La Face, who worked as a grocery store cashier, filed this PAGA claim against her employer, alleging that Ralphs violated an Industrial Wage Commission order that requires employers to provide suitable seating when the nature of the work reasonably permitted the use of seats, or, for a job where standing was required, to provide seating for employee use when their use did not interfere with the employee’s duties. Following a 12-day bench trial, where ergonomics experts and Ralphs employees and supervisors testified on both sides, the trial court found that Ralphs had not violated the applicable wage order because the evidence showed that even when lulls occurred in a cashier’s primary duties, they were still required to move about the store fulfilling various other tasks, including cleaning and restocking shelves. The Court of Appeal affirmed, noting that “sitting at or near the checkstands instead of cleaning, restocking, and fishing for customers, would have interfered with the active duties of the cashiers.” The Court further held that a PAGA claim is an “administrative hybrid” and that employees are not entitled to a jury. See also Hutcheson v. Superior Court, 2022 WL 354682 (Cal. Ct. App. 2022) (relation back doctrine may apply to extend statute of limitations applicable to new PAGA plaintiff who is substituted in for original plaintiff).