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Employers Guidelines on Rest Breaks And Meal Periods On The Horizon

A California Supreme Court Opinion Should Clarify Whether Employers Must Ensure That Employees Take Their Rest Breaks And Meal Periods.

Employers are often confused to whether they must allow employees to take their rest breaks and meal periods or if they have a higher duty to ensure that employees take these rest and meal periods.  The California Supreme Court recently agreed to hear a case that should clarify this grey area.

The case before the California Supreme Court, Brinker Restaurant v. Superior Court of San Diego, addresses how employers must comply with California laws governing rest breaks, meal periods, and off-the-clock work.

The California Court of Appeal issued its opinion on this case in July and it held that employers are only required to provide employees with their rest breaks and meal periods.  It further decided that employers are only liable for employee off-the-clock work if the employer knew or should have known that such work was taking place.

The state supreme court will review the court of appeal’s Brinker decision on November 8, 2011 and will issue its opinion within 90 days.

How does this affect your business?

Failure to comply with state rest break and meal period laws often results in legal problems for employers.  Therefore, the California Supreme Court’s decision will be helpful to employers by proving more guidance on how to comply with state laws on rest and meal periods, as well as off-the-clock work.

Once the California Supreme Court issues its opinion, employers should evaluate whether their rest break and meal period policies comply with the Court’s ruling.  Further, employers should also ensure that employees are not completing off-the-clock work.

The Mitzel Group, LLP will keep you updated on the status of this case.  You may also contact us for further information about rest break and meal period policies at info@mitzelgroup.com.