In a case employers have been waiting for since 2008, the California Supreme Court today issued a unanimous opinion in Brinker Restaurant Corporation v. Superior Court on the scope of an employer’s obligation to provide meal periods to nonexempt employees. The Court concluded that while employers must relieve nonexempt employees of all duties during meal periods, employers need not ensure that that no work is done by employees during those meal periods. Essentially, the Court concluded that once the employer provides the meal period, the employee is free to use the time as he or she pleases. We will be carefully reviewing the Supreme Court’s 54 page opinion and will give specific guidance in next week’s Employment Law Advisory regarding best practices for employers on the meal period issue as well as address other wage and hour issues decided in the Brinker opinion.
If you have any questions about application of the Brinker opinion, meals and rest periods, or any other issue relating to employment law, please contact one of our attorneys:
Daniel F. Pyne III
Richard M. Noack
Ernest M. Malaspina
Erik P. Khoobyarian