California Supreme Court Brinker Ruling: Employers Not Required to Ensure Lunch Breaks

The California Supreme Court handed down its long-awaited decision today in Brinker Restaurant Group v. Superior Court of San Diego, finding that employers are responsible only for providing lunch breaks to employees, not for making sure employees take them. From law firm Allen Matkins:

“… the Supreme Court made three particularly significant pronouncements: (1) an employer must relieve an employee of all duty for a meal period, but need not ensure that the employee does no work; (2) if work does continue, the employer will not be liable for premium pay but will only have to pay for actual time worked if it “knew or reasonably should have known that the worker was working through the authorized meal period”; and (3) the only restrictions on the timing of meal periods is that a first meal period must be before the start of the sixth hour of work and a second meal period – if any – must likewise be before the eleventh hour of work. The court provided both more freedom to employees and to employers, who are not forced to comply with the impractical and onerous burdens advanced by the plaintiff’s theory.”

Read the full update, Brinker: California Supreme Court Clarifies Standards for Meal Periods – Steps Employers Should Take Now, Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP>>

Additional Analysis:

We’ll continue to post work on the Brinker decision as it comes in.