A new law in California aims at strictly regulating employer-imposed work quotas on warehouse and distribution center workers in that state. Called AB 701, the law will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2022.
The law contends that quotas placed on warehouse and DC employees lead to “high rates of injury and illness.”
The legislation also views quotas as having a negative impact on employees’ compensation, by preventing them from receiving the full benefit of state and local minimum wages if a quota is increased to make up for the impact of a minimum wage increase.
“Much has been written about a possible ‘California contagion’ – that new laws that originate in California may eventually spread across the country,” says Bruce J. Sarchet, an attorney with the law firm of Littler Mendelson. “Other states and cities could also now look to further regulate the workplace by passing ‘quota’ laws of their own.”
The new law excludes warehousing and storage of farm products. It defines a quota as a work standard where an employee is required to perform at a specified productivity speed, perform a certain number of tasks, or to handle or produce a certain amount of material, within a defined time period.
An employer may not take adverse action against an employee for failure to meet a quota that has not been disclosed in writing to the employee.
Also, any action taken by an employee to comply with occupational health and safety laws must be considered “time on task” and “productive time” for purposes of any quota.
If a worksite or employer is found to have an annual employee injury rate of at least 1.5 times higher than the warehousing industry’s average annual injury rate, the California labor commissioner must consider conducting an investigation of violations.