San Francisco Wage Ordinance Amendments Being Considered
In the recent California Supreme Court decision in Sullivan v. Oracle, the Court held that non-California employees who perform work in California are subject to California's wage and hour regulations. Let's not forget that such "home turf" rules already existed in San Francisco, where its wage and hour and paid sick leave laws often apply to employees who are based outside of San Francisco and only work in the City by the Bay occassionally. In 2003, San Francisco passed its minimum wage ordinance, which applies to any employee who works more than 2 hours of work within San Francisco city limits during any workweek, even if the employee is based elsewhere (current SF minimum wage is $9.92). In 2007, San Francisco enacted its paid sick leave ordinance, which provides paid sick leave for any employee who works more than 56 hours per calendar year in the City of San Francisco. San Francisco also has its own agency to enforce these ordinances, the San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement. The SF OLSE has 16 enforcement employees and is run by Donna Leavitt, a former union official for the United Brotherhood of Carpenters Union.
The SF OLSE is serious about its mission. According to sfgate.com the agency has collected over $4 million dollars in back wages in the last 7 years. Just last week, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera sued Dick Lee Pastry, Inc. and its owners and operators on behalf of the SF OLSE for violating the minimum wage ordinance and other wage and hour regulations and is seeking back wages of more than $440,000 plus interest and penalties that it contends should have been paid to seven of their employees.
Employers should also be aware that two San Francisco supervisors have now proposed amendments to the minimum wage ordinance. If passed, these amendments would (a) require that employers notify workers in writing of any pending wage investigation, (b) double the penalties for retaliating against workers who participate in a wage investigation, (c) give SF OLSE investigators even more power by allowing them to cite employers immediately for violations, and (d) expedite investigations. If passed, this legislation certainly has the potential to adversely effect employers who employ workers within the San Francisco city limits. We will continue to keep you updated on this topic.