BRG experts use scientifically sound observational studies and evaluations of work performed when seated to gather data relevant to Private Attorney General’s Act cases.
The Private Attorney General’s Act (PAGA) states, in part, that employers must provide their employees with “suitable seats when the nature of the work reasonably permits the use of such seats.” This requirement creates the need to determine whether the work of a particular organization or position reasonably permits the use of seats. Given recent cases regarding availability of suitable seating for employees, many employers, especially California employers and those in the retail industry, face the possibility of additional litigation.
Two approaches used by BRG experts to gather data relevant to PAGA cases are:
Our observational studies focus on identifying the tasks that incumbents actually perform on the job. Our established, scientifically based observational protocols enable us to observe and track the tasks performed; the frequency of those tasks; the amount of time required to perform each task; the location in the establishment, store, or facility in which tasks are performed; and the movement of employees within these entities.
Knowing where tasks are performed and for how long in each location can inform the court regarding when, if at all, seating is reasonable and appropriate under current guidelines.
Evaluations of work performed when seated
An important factor for organizations to consider when implementing an organization change, such as adding seating to workstations, is how it will affect employee performance and productivity. If adding seating decreases employees’ ability to perform their primary job duties, the change may not be reasonable and may impose undue hardship on the organization.
To evaluate whether seating adversely affects employee performance and productivity, BRG experts study job/task performance before and after the introduction of seating. For example, our experts study how seating may affect the amount of time cashiers spend performing their primary duties, such as scanning and bagging items, as well as customer satisfaction with their cash-out experience. By introducing seating into one or more customer service areas and then tracking the time employees spend on job tasks and measuring customer satisfaction, data relevant to this issue can be obtained. In this way, task performance and customer satisfaction can be compared under seated and non-seated conditions. With these data, we assess the magnitude and statistical significance of the effect of seating on employee productivity and customer service.
Reliable and valid findings from these types of studies can be valuable for determining whether seating is reasonable and appropriate in a specific setting.
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