Employers have had a breakthrough in court in regard to employee rest period. On April 12, 2012 the California Supreme Court ruled on the case of Brinker Restaurant v. Superior Court. The courts ruled that employers must only provide meal rest periods to employees, but that employers are not required to ensure the employee takes them.
Employees are entitled to certain rest periods for breaks and lunch depending on the numbers of hours worked in the day. Employers no longer have to police employees; they only need to relieve the employee of all job duties for that period of time. While employers are required to only ‘make available’ the appropriate rest and meal breaks, no guidance from the courts have been provided on how employers prove that these rest periods have been provided. Employers should ensure that meal and rest break policies are clearly described in the company’s employee handbook and that training is provided to supervisors.
Does your company currently police employee rest and meal breaks? Do you, or someone you know, work through their lunch?