California: When has an Employer Provided Reasonable Seating?


All Employers with CA Employees


July 19, 2022




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In California, an employer must provide an employee with a reasonable seat while working if the nature of the work reasonably permits the use of a seat. In Meda v. AutoZoners, Inc., a California Court of Appeal looked at what an employer must do to be considered to have “provided” seating to employees. 


There, a sales associate claimed that she was not provided suitable seating while working behind a bar-height counter where she was able to perform a majority of her work while seated. The employer claimed that two chairs located next to a manager’s office around the corner were available for employee use. However, the court said that where an employer has not expressly advised its employees that they may use a seat during their work and has not provided a seat at a workstation, a factual analysis was necessary to determine whether an employer “provided” reasonable seating, including the proximity of the available seating to the workspace and the employee’s knowledge of the availability of seating. The factual analysis may vary depending on the circumstances. 


The court did not say that employers are required to place a seat at every workstation involving work that could be performed while seated, acknowledging that doing so may not always be feasible given the particular characteristics of a workspace. The court also gave examples of how an employer may inform its employees of the availability of seating, such as by directly informing employees that seats are available for use or including a seating policy in its employee handbook. Going forward, employers should evaluate their seating availability and need within the workplace to ensure compliance with seating requirements. 


Action Items 

  1. Evaluate seating availability for workers. 
  2. Provide notice to workers of available seating. 
  3. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser. © 2022 ManagEase