April 5, 2016

WG Files Joint Amicus Brief on Safe Harbor Carve-out Provision

As previously announced in our March 24, 2016, Spotlight article, Western Growers and industry partners have filed an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of provisions of AB 1513 that effectively carves-out two growers from taking advantage of the bill’s safe harbor provisions.

The brief was drafted by Pacific Legal Foundation on behalf of Western Growers, California Fresh Fruit Association, National Hmong-American Farmers, the African-American Farmers of California, Fresno County Farm Bureau, and the Nisei Farmers League.

The California Legislature enacted AB 1513 to provide relief for businesses facing sudden and unforeseen liability in the wake of recent California judicial decisions interpreting the state’s minimum wage law and its application to piece-rate compensation. AB 1513’s safe harbor allows business to avoid statutory damages and penalties from class action lawsuits to employers who make back payments to piece-rate employees for rest periods and other “nonproductive time.”

The carve-outs were forced through the Legislature in the final hours of the legislative process to exclude two employers — Fowler Packing Company, Inc. and Gerawan Farming, Inc. — from the safe harbor, unfairly subjecting those employers to predatory class action lawsuits. The carve-outs were included to appease the United Farm Workers union (UFW) who demanded the provisions in return for their agreement not to oppose the labor deal struck by the Brown Administration and the legislature.

To read the full amicus filing CLICK HERE.

For more information, the Amicus filing, please contact Jason Resnick at (949) 885-2253.