Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Long Awaited Decision In Brinker Meal Period Will Be Issued Tomorrow, April 12, At 10:00 A.M.

As we previously reported here, on July 22, 2008, in Brinker v. Superior Court, the California Court of Appeal held that while an employer is required to "provide" to non-exempt employees at least one unpaid, duty-free meal period of at least 30 minutes each workday of more than 6 hours, the obligation to "provide" required meal  periods means to make the required meal periods available and not to ensure that employees take all required meal periods.  This was good news for employers and especially good news to numerous employers defending against claims of alleged meal period violations.  
The good news was short lived, however.  Just two months later, on October 22, 2008, the California Supreme Court granted the plaintiff's petition for review of the Court of Appeal's decision in Brinker.  
Today, the California Supreme Court announced it will issue tomorrow, April 12, at 10:00 a.m., the Court's long awaited decision.
We expect the Court's decision will address at least two major issues: (1) whether an employer's obligation to "provide" required meal periods means to make required meal periods available to eligible employees (i.e., non-exempt employees) or to ensure that eligible employees take all required meal periods, and (2) whether "rolling" meal periods are required such that an employer that requires or permits an employee to take a meal period relatively early in the workday is required to "provide" a second meal period within 5 hours of the conclusion of the employee's first meal period even if the employee does not work more than 10 hours in a workday.
We will report on the decision shortly after it is issued tomorrow.  Stay tuned.