Casualty Risk Consulting eNewsletter

California Employers Required to Allow Employees to
Work from Seated Positions


In an opinion released Monday, April 4, the California Supreme Court clarified the state’s rules around when an employer must provide employees with a seated option for work. The clarification requires employers to consider an employee’s tasks at a given location where the seating option is claimed, rather than a “holistic” consideration of all the employee’s tasks which may broadly categorize the position as seated or standing. The task – not individual employee characteristics – must be considered. The burden is placed on the employer to show that the tasks have been evaluated and no suitable seat is available.

The law is not being enforced by state safety and health agencies. Rather, it updates the California’s Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (PAGA). Under PAGA, an employee can seek up to a year of civil penalties and attorney fees, including a civil penalty of $100 for each aggrieved employee per pay period for the initial violation and $200 for each aggrieved employee per pay period for each subsequent violation. As such, all companies that have operations – and employees—working in the State of California are subject to these new guidelines. It is incumbent upon these organizations to ensure their safety programs are in compliance.

Aon can help...

Aon Global Risk Consulting (AGRC) Ergonomics practice consists of eight Certified Professional Ergonomists (CPE) each of whom are available to work with clients to review task requirements and determine if tasks can be safely and efficiently performed from a seated position. In reviewing the appropriateness of potential solutions, the team will also ensure that additional risks are not introduced.

Our services include:

  • Site visit to review tasks under consideration for potential change and collect workstation specific data related to space, dimensions and layout
  • Perform Task and Risk Analysis of Current and Future States
  • Perform a detailed assessment of biomechanical risk related to postural changes and frequency of risk factors between current and future state
  • Provide client findings and determination of Acceptability for Change
  • Risk statement for current vs. future state and percentage of change (if any moving from a standing to sitting position)
  • Publish potential changes in productivity related to increased reaches that may occur moving from standing to sitting position
  • Describe potential ergonomic improvements that may make an unacceptable increase in risk acceptable

Please review the Aon Risk Alert

Contact the Experts

Please contact an Aon ergonomist for more information on the impact on this new rule on your safety program: Scott Smith, Director Ergonomics, Aon Casualty Risk Control,
Rachel Michael, Ergonomics Practice Thought Leadership, Aon Casualty Risk Control and
Rob Connery, Retail Practice Thought Leadership, Aon Casualty Risk Control