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California Supreme Court: Restaurants must provide, not ensure employee breaks

California Supreme Court: Restaurants must provide, not ensure employee breaks


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The California Supreme Court on Thursday offered a qualified ruling in favor of employers in a long-awaited meal-and-rest break lawsuit involving Chili’s parent Brinker International Inc.

In a decision that many hope will bring clarity to state break requirements and reduce the number of lawsuits that have plagued the restaurant industry, the court said employers across the state need not ensure that workers actually take mandated 30-minute breaks during their shifts.

Employers, however, must make meal and rest breaks available within a certain time during shifts, and they must also keep records of such breaks, the ruling said.

Attorneys for Brinker said they were glad to finally have a decision, which was handed down from the Brinker Restaurant Corp. et al v. The Superior Court for the State of California for the County of San Diego.

The court’s action was seen as a victory for Brinker, though aspects of the case will return to the lower court to play out in light of Thursday’s ruling.

“We’re very pleased that our team members and employees have the flexibility to take or not take their meal breaks,” said Roger Thomson, Dallas-based Brinker’s executive vice president and general counsel.

Steven Katz, an attorney with Reed Smith in Los Angeles, said the ruling was “a clear victory for common sense.”

By allowing employees an opportunity for a meal break, but not forcing them to take a break they may not want, “the court declared the law to be precisely what employees and employers have always thought: it is the employee’s choice to take a meal break, not something forced on employees by the government.”

EARLIER:

  • Meal break lawsuit could affect California restaurants
  • California to rule on Brinker meal-break suit

Steve Hirschfeld, founder and chief executive of the San Francisco-based labor and employment attorney network Employment Law Alliance, agreed, adding, “What this ruling says, in essence, is that employers don’t have to babysit employees.

“As long as they make available meal and rest periods and encourage their usage, they are not liable for claims brought by employees that they did not receive them,” Hirschfeld said. “Employers are not going to be in a situation where they have to act like ‘big brother’ and constantly monitor employees.”


Supreme Court Decides Brinker–Employers Must Merely Provide Breaks

The California Supreme Court decided Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Sup. Ct. today. Of course, employers throughout the state have been watching this case closely and waiting to see whether the Supreme Court would require employers to “ensure” employees take meal breaks, or merely “provide” employees with those breaks.

Ultimately, the Court decided the following:

  1. Employers are obligated to afford hourly employees meal and rest periods and to relieve employees of all duties during those meal and rest periods. However, the employer must not “ensure” an employee actually takes a break or that the employee performs no work during the break. The employee is at liberty to use the break for whatever purpose he or she desires.
  2. A first meal period must generally fall no later than five hours into an employee’s shift and a second meal break provided after no more than ten hours of work. However, an employer has no obligation to schedule meal breaks at five hour intervals throughout the shift.
  3. Concerning rest breaks, an employee is entitled to a 10 minute rest break for shifts lasting from three and one-half hours to six hours in length. An employer must provide a second rest break for shifts from six hours to ten hours in length.
  4. Employers need only use good-faith to give required rest periods in the middle of shift, but “may deviate from that preferred course where practical considerations render it feasible.”

This is a significant win for employers. As many predicted, the Court did not impose a rule requiring employers to ensure its employees perform no work during meal and rest breaks. That being said, employers must carefully review their employee handbooks and internal policies to ensure the timing of meal and rest breaks complies with the Court’s order.


Supreme Court Decides Brinker–Employers Must Merely Provide Breaks

The California Supreme Court decided Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Sup. Ct. today. Of course, employers throughout the state have been watching this case closely and waiting to see whether the Supreme Court would require employers to “ensure” employees take meal breaks, or merely “provide” employees with those breaks.

Ultimately, the Court decided the following:

  1. Employers are obligated to afford hourly employees meal and rest periods and to relieve employees of all duties during those meal and rest periods. However, the employer must not “ensure” an employee actually takes a break or that the employee performs no work during the break. The employee is at liberty to use the break for whatever purpose he or she desires.
  2. A first meal period must generally fall no later than five hours into an employee’s shift and a second meal break provided after no more than ten hours of work. However, an employer has no obligation to schedule meal breaks at five hour intervals throughout the shift.
  3. Concerning rest breaks, an employee is entitled to a 10 minute rest break for shifts lasting from three and one-half hours to six hours in length. An employer must provide a second rest break for shifts from six hours to ten hours in length.
  4. Employers need only use good-faith to give required rest periods in the middle of shift, but “may deviate from that preferred course where practical considerations render it feasible.”

This is a significant win for employers. As many predicted, the Court did not impose a rule requiring employers to ensure its employees perform no work during meal and rest breaks. That being said, employers must carefully review their employee handbooks and internal policies to ensure the timing of meal and rest breaks complies with the Court’s order.


Supreme Court Decides Brinker–Employers Must Merely Provide Breaks

The California Supreme Court decided Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Sup. Ct. today. Of course, employers throughout the state have been watching this case closely and waiting to see whether the Supreme Court would require employers to “ensure” employees take meal breaks, or merely “provide” employees with those breaks.

Ultimately, the Court decided the following:

  1. Employers are obligated to afford hourly employees meal and rest periods and to relieve employees of all duties during those meal and rest periods. However, the employer must not “ensure” an employee actually takes a break or that the employee performs no work during the break. The employee is at liberty to use the break for whatever purpose he or she desires.
  2. A first meal period must generally fall no later than five hours into an employee’s shift and a second meal break provided after no more than ten hours of work. However, an employer has no obligation to schedule meal breaks at five hour intervals throughout the shift.
  3. Concerning rest breaks, an employee is entitled to a 10 minute rest break for shifts lasting from three and one-half hours to six hours in length. An employer must provide a second rest break for shifts from six hours to ten hours in length.
  4. Employers need only use good-faith to give required rest periods in the middle of shift, but “may deviate from that preferred course where practical considerations render it feasible.”

This is a significant win for employers. As many predicted, the Court did not impose a rule requiring employers to ensure its employees perform no work during meal and rest breaks. That being said, employers must carefully review their employee handbooks and internal policies to ensure the timing of meal and rest breaks complies with the Court’s order.


Supreme Court Decides Brinker–Employers Must Merely Provide Breaks

The California Supreme Court decided Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Sup. Ct. today. Of course, employers throughout the state have been watching this case closely and waiting to see whether the Supreme Court would require employers to “ensure” employees take meal breaks, or merely “provide” employees with those breaks.

Ultimately, the Court decided the following:

  1. Employers are obligated to afford hourly employees meal and rest periods and to relieve employees of all duties during those meal and rest periods. However, the employer must not “ensure” an employee actually takes a break or that the employee performs no work during the break. The employee is at liberty to use the break for whatever purpose he or she desires.
  2. A first meal period must generally fall no later than five hours into an employee’s shift and a second meal break provided after no more than ten hours of work. However, an employer has no obligation to schedule meal breaks at five hour intervals throughout the shift.
  3. Concerning rest breaks, an employee is entitled to a 10 minute rest break for shifts lasting from three and one-half hours to six hours in length. An employer must provide a second rest break for shifts from six hours to ten hours in length.
  4. Employers need only use good-faith to give required rest periods in the middle of shift, but “may deviate from that preferred course where practical considerations render it feasible.”

This is a significant win for employers. As many predicted, the Court did not impose a rule requiring employers to ensure its employees perform no work during meal and rest breaks. That being said, employers must carefully review their employee handbooks and internal policies to ensure the timing of meal and rest breaks complies with the Court’s order.


Supreme Court Decides Brinker–Employers Must Merely Provide Breaks

The California Supreme Court decided Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Sup. Ct. today. Of course, employers throughout the state have been watching this case closely and waiting to see whether the Supreme Court would require employers to “ensure” employees take meal breaks, or merely “provide” employees with those breaks.

Ultimately, the Court decided the following:

  1. Employers are obligated to afford hourly employees meal and rest periods and to relieve employees of all duties during those meal and rest periods. However, the employer must not “ensure” an employee actually takes a break or that the employee performs no work during the break. The employee is at liberty to use the break for whatever purpose he or she desires.
  2. A first meal period must generally fall no later than five hours into an employee’s shift and a second meal break provided after no more than ten hours of work. However, an employer has no obligation to schedule meal breaks at five hour intervals throughout the shift.
  3. Concerning rest breaks, an employee is entitled to a 10 minute rest break for shifts lasting from three and one-half hours to six hours in length. An employer must provide a second rest break for shifts from six hours to ten hours in length.
  4. Employers need only use good-faith to give required rest periods in the middle of shift, but “may deviate from that preferred course where practical considerations render it feasible.”

This is a significant win for employers. As many predicted, the Court did not impose a rule requiring employers to ensure its employees perform no work during meal and rest breaks. That being said, employers must carefully review their employee handbooks and internal policies to ensure the timing of meal and rest breaks complies with the Court’s order.


Supreme Court Decides Brinker–Employers Must Merely Provide Breaks

The California Supreme Court decided Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Sup. Ct. today. Of course, employers throughout the state have been watching this case closely and waiting to see whether the Supreme Court would require employers to “ensure” employees take meal breaks, or merely “provide” employees with those breaks.

Ultimately, the Court decided the following:

  1. Employers are obligated to afford hourly employees meal and rest periods and to relieve employees of all duties during those meal and rest periods. However, the employer must not “ensure” an employee actually takes a break or that the employee performs no work during the break. The employee is at liberty to use the break for whatever purpose he or she desires.
  2. A first meal period must generally fall no later than five hours into an employee’s shift and a second meal break provided after no more than ten hours of work. However, an employer has no obligation to schedule meal breaks at five hour intervals throughout the shift.
  3. Concerning rest breaks, an employee is entitled to a 10 minute rest break for shifts lasting from three and one-half hours to six hours in length. An employer must provide a second rest break for shifts from six hours to ten hours in length.
  4. Employers need only use good-faith to give required rest periods in the middle of shift, but “may deviate from that preferred course where practical considerations render it feasible.”

This is a significant win for employers. As many predicted, the Court did not impose a rule requiring employers to ensure its employees perform no work during meal and rest breaks. That being said, employers must carefully review their employee handbooks and internal policies to ensure the timing of meal and rest breaks complies with the Court’s order.


Supreme Court Decides Brinker–Employers Must Merely Provide Breaks

The California Supreme Court decided Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Sup. Ct. today. Of course, employers throughout the state have been watching this case closely and waiting to see whether the Supreme Court would require employers to “ensure” employees take meal breaks, or merely “provide” employees with those breaks.

Ultimately, the Court decided the following:

  1. Employers are obligated to afford hourly employees meal and rest periods and to relieve employees of all duties during those meal and rest periods. However, the employer must not “ensure” an employee actually takes a break or that the employee performs no work during the break. The employee is at liberty to use the break for whatever purpose he or she desires.
  2. A first meal period must generally fall no later than five hours into an employee’s shift and a second meal break provided after no more than ten hours of work. However, an employer has no obligation to schedule meal breaks at five hour intervals throughout the shift.
  3. Concerning rest breaks, an employee is entitled to a 10 minute rest break for shifts lasting from three and one-half hours to six hours in length. An employer must provide a second rest break for shifts from six hours to ten hours in length.
  4. Employers need only use good-faith to give required rest periods in the middle of shift, but “may deviate from that preferred course where practical considerations render it feasible.”

This is a significant win for employers. As many predicted, the Court did not impose a rule requiring employers to ensure its employees perform no work during meal and rest breaks. That being said, employers must carefully review their employee handbooks and internal policies to ensure the timing of meal and rest breaks complies with the Court’s order.


Supreme Court Decides Brinker–Employers Must Merely Provide Breaks

The California Supreme Court decided Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Sup. Ct. today. Of course, employers throughout the state have been watching this case closely and waiting to see whether the Supreme Court would require employers to “ensure” employees take meal breaks, or merely “provide” employees with those breaks.

Ultimately, the Court decided the following:

  1. Employers are obligated to afford hourly employees meal and rest periods and to relieve employees of all duties during those meal and rest periods. However, the employer must not “ensure” an employee actually takes a break or that the employee performs no work during the break. The employee is at liberty to use the break for whatever purpose he or she desires.
  2. A first meal period must generally fall no later than five hours into an employee’s shift and a second meal break provided after no more than ten hours of work. However, an employer has no obligation to schedule meal breaks at five hour intervals throughout the shift.
  3. Concerning rest breaks, an employee is entitled to a 10 minute rest break for shifts lasting from three and one-half hours to six hours in length. An employer must provide a second rest break for shifts from six hours to ten hours in length.
  4. Employers need only use good-faith to give required rest periods in the middle of shift, but “may deviate from that preferred course where practical considerations render it feasible.”

This is a significant win for employers. As many predicted, the Court did not impose a rule requiring employers to ensure its employees perform no work during meal and rest breaks. That being said, employers must carefully review their employee handbooks and internal policies to ensure the timing of meal and rest breaks complies with the Court’s order.


Supreme Court Decides Brinker–Employers Must Merely Provide Breaks

The California Supreme Court decided Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Sup. Ct. today. Of course, employers throughout the state have been watching this case closely and waiting to see whether the Supreme Court would require employers to “ensure” employees take meal breaks, or merely “provide” employees with those breaks.

Ultimately, the Court decided the following:

  1. Employers are obligated to afford hourly employees meal and rest periods and to relieve employees of all duties during those meal and rest periods. However, the employer must not “ensure” an employee actually takes a break or that the employee performs no work during the break. The employee is at liberty to use the break for whatever purpose he or she desires.
  2. A first meal period must generally fall no later than five hours into an employee’s shift and a second meal break provided after no more than ten hours of work. However, an employer has no obligation to schedule meal breaks at five hour intervals throughout the shift.
  3. Concerning rest breaks, an employee is entitled to a 10 minute rest break for shifts lasting from three and one-half hours to six hours in length. An employer must provide a second rest break for shifts from six hours to ten hours in length.
  4. Employers need only use good-faith to give required rest periods in the middle of shift, but “may deviate from that preferred course where practical considerations render it feasible.”

This is a significant win for employers. As many predicted, the Court did not impose a rule requiring employers to ensure its employees perform no work during meal and rest breaks. That being said, employers must carefully review their employee handbooks and internal policies to ensure the timing of meal and rest breaks complies with the Court’s order.


Supreme Court Decides Brinker–Employers Must Merely Provide Breaks

The California Supreme Court decided Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Sup. Ct. today. Of course, employers throughout the state have been watching this case closely and waiting to see whether the Supreme Court would require employers to “ensure” employees take meal breaks, or merely “provide” employees with those breaks.

Ultimately, the Court decided the following:

  1. Employers are obligated to afford hourly employees meal and rest periods and to relieve employees of all duties during those meal and rest periods. However, the employer must not “ensure” an employee actually takes a break or that the employee performs no work during the break. The employee is at liberty to use the break for whatever purpose he or she desires.
  2. A first meal period must generally fall no later than five hours into an employee’s shift and a second meal break provided after no more than ten hours of work. However, an employer has no obligation to schedule meal breaks at five hour intervals throughout the shift.
  3. Concerning rest breaks, an employee is entitled to a 10 minute rest break for shifts lasting from three and one-half hours to six hours in length. An employer must provide a second rest break for shifts from six hours to ten hours in length.
  4. Employers need only use good-faith to give required rest periods in the middle of shift, but “may deviate from that preferred course where practical considerations render it feasible.”

This is a significant win for employers. As many predicted, the Court did not impose a rule requiring employers to ensure its employees perform no work during meal and rest breaks. That being said, employers must carefully review their employee handbooks and internal policies to ensure the timing of meal and rest breaks complies with the Court’s order.


Watch the video: Inside the California Supreme Court 2006 (July 2022).


Comments:

  1. Chas-Chunk-A

    How much is possible.

  2. Atwell

    Excuse me for what I am aware of interfering ... this situation. Write here or in PM.

  3. Pickworth

    I'm sorry, but in my opinion, you are wrong. Let us try to discuss this. Write to me in PM.

  4. Wanrrick

    I beg your pardon that I intervene, but you could not give a little more information.

  5. Kaila

    He laughed. Picture norms =))



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