Calif. court declares employers have discretion to schedule breaks

September 2008Articles Hospitality Law

A state appellate court in California clarified employers' obligations to ensure certain employees have meal and rest breaks. Employees in the case, Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. The Superior Court of San Diego County, claimed Brinker violated California's meal and rest break regulations, and forced employees to work off the clock during meal hours.

From this decision, the court acknowledged a restaurant owner's need to have flexibility in scheduling meals and rest breaks in order to operate properly. This does not mean owners have complete discretion; they must still ensure their policies are well within the law. Despite the decision, the possibility of this case being appeal to the state's Supreme Court is likely.