Tuesday, July 9, 2019
Court of Appeal:
By a MetNews Staff Writer
A restaurant chain that requires employees to wear slip-resistant shoes while on duty does not have to reimburse them for the cost of the footwear, the Third District Court of Appeal has held.
Acting Presiding Justice M. Kathleen Butz wrote the opinion, which finds that the shoe policy of BJ’s Restaurants, Inc. which operates 63 restaurants in California, is not violative of Labor Code §2802(a). That provision specifies:
“An employer shall indemnify his or her employee for all necessary expenditures or losses incurred by the employee in direct consequence of the discharge of his or her duties….”
Butz said BJ’s was properly awarded summary judgment in a putative class action brought against it by Krista Townley, a former waitress at its Stockton location.
“We conclude that BJ’s is not required, as a matter of law, to reimburse its employees for the cost of the slip-resistant shoes at issue in this case under section 2802. The cost of the shoes does not qualify as a ‘necessary expenditure’ within the meaning of the statute….Townley has not argued that the slip-resistant shoes she was required to purchase were part of a uniform or were not usual and generally usable in the restaurant occupation. Further, she does not cite any authority holding that an employer is required, under section 2802, to reimburse an employee for basic, non-uniform wardrobe items, such as the slip-resistant shoes at issue in this case.”
In support, she cited a 2015 unpublished opinion of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals which found that an identical policy at Denny’s restaurants does not violate California’s §2802(a).
Butz’s opinion was filed June 4 and not certified for publication. It recites on its face that it was certified for publication yesterday.
California Rules of Court, rule 2802, renders an opinion final 30 days after filing, and the 30-day period was up on July 4, a holiday. However, the order for publication was signed by three justices on July 5.
The case is Townley v. BJ’s Restaurants, Inc., C086672.
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