April 16, 2012

California Supreme Court Rules Employers Not Required To Ensure Employees Take Meal Periods, but Meal and Rest Break Claims May Be Suitable For Class Treatment

Arnold & Porter Advisory

In its long-anticipated ruling in Brinker v. Superior Court (Hohnbaum), the California Supreme Court clarified the extent of an employer’s obligation under state law to provide meal and rest periods. The decision interprets the required timing of such breaks, how often they must be taken, and most critically, an employer’s obligation to police whether employees actually stop work when provided a break. In most respects, the decision announces a realistic  interpretation of the law that employers will welcome. However, the Brinker Court also held that claims for denial of meal and rest periods may, under some circumstances, still proceed as class actions.

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