Oct. 28, 2008 Another Favorable Decision On Meal and Rest Period Rules

Summary 

Yesterday, the California Court of Appeal in Los Angeles issued a published opinion in the case of Brinkley v. Public Storage, Inc.  The Brinkley case involved class allegations of meal and rest period violations, and pay stub violations.  The opinion largely followed the standards previously set forth in Brinker, which were discussed in two previous E-Updates on July 22, 2008 and October 22, 2008.  The new Brinkley decision comes less than one week after the California Supreme Court granted review in Brinker

Details

Like the Brinker opinion, the Brinkley court held that California employers must only make meal breaks available to employees, and are not obligated to ensure that employees actually take their meal breaks.  The court also found in favor of the employer on the rest break claims because the employer made rest breaks available to its employees.

Regarding the claim for inaccurate pay stubs, the court found for the employer because there was no evidence that the employer knowingly and intentionally failed to comply with the pay stub requirements in the California Labor Code.  The court also noted that an employee must suffer an injury as a result of a pay stub error in order to bring this type of claim.

What This Means

As a new published opinion, the Brinkley decision is good law and may be cited as authority in California courts.  However, given the California Supreme Court’s recent grant of review of the Brinker case, there is a good chance that this case will be appealed in the near future and may be depublished while the Supreme Court reviews Brinker.  While the Brinkley case joins a growing list of opinions regarding meal and rest breaks that are favorable to employers, the issue will remain unsettled until the Supreme Court rules in Brinker.  In the meantime, employers should continue to vigorously enforce their meal and rest break policies until these issues are finally resolved.

This E-Update was authored by Jeff Ames and Tim Keegan.  For more information, please contact Mr. Ames, Mr. Keegan or any Paul Plevin attorney at (619) 237-5200.