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Legs & Regs: Meal Break Decision Benefits Staffing Firms

May 01 2012

The California Supreme Court’s decision on how employers are supposed to manage meal periods and rest breaks in the case Brinker Restaurant Corporation v. Superior Court is mostly a win for California employers, according to the April issue of the Legs & Regs Advisor, now online.

Among its findings in the case, the court held that an employer must relieve employees of all duty during their meal period with the employee then free to use the meal period for his or her own purpose. The court rejected the plaintiffs’ argument that the California Wage Order requires employers to ensure that no work is done during an employee’s meal period. If an employee continues to work after the employer relinquishes control, the employer will be liable for straight pay only when it knew or reasonably should have known that the worker was working through the authorized meal period.

The Legs & Regs Advisor calls the decision is a legal victory for staffing firms as they are generally not on site to monitor proper meal/rest breaks except for very large staffing assignments. With the court refusing to endorse a strict liability theory, staffing firms should have much more success defending these types of claims, according to the Legs & Regs Advisor.

The Legs & Regs Advisor is produced by Staffing Industry Analysts in conjunction with employment law firm Littler Mendelson. Staffing Industry Analysts corporate members can access the full issue by clicking here.

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