Over the past few years, a higher level of scrutiny has been placed on agricultural employer practices. Statewide litigation involving issues ranging from rest break pay, meal period compliance, and overtime pay is hitting agricultural employers on a regular basis. Decades old industry practices are now under evaluation in the courts for both piece rate and hourly employees.
After a well-known recent case decision, Washington State Department of Labor & Industries published a new policy ‘Paid Agricultural Rest Breaks’. There are additional cases currently in the courts that are challenging current laws and, depending on their outcome, will have a significant impact on agricultural employers. Employers should keep an eye on the evolving landscape in these areas and follow best employment practices.