California Supreme Court rules in favor of employers in Brinker lawsuit

California Supreme Court rules that employers in California do not need to make sure employees are taking meal breaks.
California Supreme Court rules
that employers in California do not
need to make sure employees
are taking meal breaks.

The California Supreme Court has made a decision that will greatly affect both employers and employees in its ruling on the "Brinker Restaurant Corp. et al v. The Superior Court for the State of California for the County of San Diego" case.

According to the ruling, employers in California only need to satisfy the requirements of providing meal breaks to employees and do not need to confirm that employees do not work during this time. Along with this stipulation, supervisors will not have to require workers to take meal breaks that employees would rather skip, as stated by Rex Heine, Brinker's lead attorney.

This is a clear victory for employers and such an action could lead to reduced wage and hour lawsuits filed against superiors. This court case came to the California Supreme Court in 2008 after an appeals court declined taking on the class action lawsuit.

California Labor Law 512 assures that employers must provide a meal break for anyone working for more than five hours. While Brinker – a restaurant company – allowed workers to take such breaks, the plaintiffs maintained that Brinker had to insure that employees took these adjournments. Brinker is satisfied with the Supreme Court's decision, as regulations for breaks and meal periods have become clearer.

"We're glad to finally have resolution on the proper legal standards for meal period and rest breaks in our California restaurants. At Brinker, we pride ourselves on creating a positive work environment for our team members. Policies, including those for meal period and rest breaks, are and will continue to be, reflective of that commitment," Roger Thomson, executive vice president and general counsel of Brinker International said in a press release.

For Chicago companies with similar lawsuits filed by employees, good, sound legal advice from a Chicago litigation attorney could prove vital in winning such a case.

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