Distribution center operators should be aware that more state laws targeting their businesses by restricting the use of work quotas are on the way.
Such laws already exist in New York and California, and one was recently passed in Washington State. The Connecticut legislature is holding hearings on its own such measure.
“Employers with distribution centers in California and New York should ensure their productivity standards comply with these laws,” says attorney Kathryn Barry of the Jackson Lewis law firm. “Employers with distribution centers in other states (including Washington) should prepare for the possibility of similar requirements soon.”
California and New York’s laws apply only to employers with at least 100 employees at a single distribution center or at least 1,000 employees within the state. Non-distribution centers and smaller employers are not covered by those laws.
Covered employers are generally required to provide a written notice of the quota to employees upon hire. That notice must describe any applicable quotas and explain what disciplinary actions might result if an employee does not meet the quota.
“While this sounds straightforward, many employers use sophisticated algorithms or detailed engineered labor standards to establish workplace productivity requirements – and the laws are unclear as to the level of detail that must be disclosed to the employee,” Barry explains.
Employers must disclose more than just the quotas themselves. Under the existing state laws, employees have a right to request their own productivity data and the aggregate productivity data of their coworkers.
Both California and New York offer broad protection to employees who request this data, Barry points out. Under both state laws, there is a rebuttable presumption of unlawful retaliation if an employer takes any adverse action within 90 days of the employee’s request.