SLVMS Lawyers Quoted on Rest Break Decision

Jul 31, 2015   Print PDF

Related Practices: Agriculture and Employment

Stokes Lawrence Velikanje Moore & Shore lawyers Brendan Monahan and Sarah Wixson were quoted in the press about the Washington Supreme Court’s recent ruling that employees who are paid on a piece rate basis must be compensated separately for rest breaks. In the articles, both lawyers noted that there is still the potential for future litigation.

In the Yakima Herald article “Supreme Court pay ruling could increase costs for farmers,” Brendan was noted as saying that requiring separate rest break pay could open up growers to pay challenges for other activities on farms that don’t directly involve production, such as walking from field to field, emptying apple bags and moving ladders.

In “Washington farmers alerted to change pay practices,” published by the Capital Press, Sarah advised that farmers immediately start paying for rest breaks and noted that the question of retroactive pay is still unanswered. The statute of limitations for wage claims is three years. The sooner an employer pays for rest breaks, the sooner the clock starts ticking.

“Everybody has to hold their breath for the next three years,” she said.

Stokes Lawrence Velikanje Moore & Shore filed an amicus, or friend of the court, brief in the case on behalf of agriculture groups. In the wake of the decision, the firm issued an alert that includes suggestions for practices employers should implement immediately.