California Employers No Longer Required to Ensure Lunch Breaks
The California Supreme Court ruled yesterday that employers will no longer be obligated to require their employees to take legally mandated lunch breaks.
The case was filed nine years ago against Brinker International, the parent company of Chili's and Maggiano's, by employees who accused their managers of abusing California labor law by encouraging them not to take lunch breaks. However, the Supreme Court unanimously deemed that it is the responsibility of the workers to make use of their alloted breaks rather than the employers.
The bottom line is that while California employees are legally entitled to a 30-minute meal break during work hours, it's up to the discretion of the worker as to whether or not they take advantage of it. In 2001, California made it legal to penalize any employer who violates the meal and rest break labor laws by requiring them to pay an extra hour of wages to any worker that missed their half-hour break.
This new ruling should help to clarify the intricacies of the current labor laws for employees and employers alike.