A Wage and Hour Defense Blog post titled “The Ninth Circuit’s Request That the California Supreme Court Clarify Meal and Rest Period Requirements May Have a Tremendous Impact Upon Employers,” authored by Kevin Sullivan, Associate in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s Los Angeles office, was featured in SHRM, in “Are California Employers Required to Have Formal Policies for Meal and Rest Breaks?”

Following is an excerpt:

Under California law, businesses must provide employees with meal and rest breaks and relieve them of all duty during those times. Employers are not required to police those breaks or ensure that employees refrain from working, but the law isn’t clear on whether employers are required to have formal policies about breaks. So a federal appeals court asked the California Supreme Court to weigh in on the issue.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals asked the California Supreme Court to answer two questions about the state’s laws governing meal and rest breaks:

  • Does an employer violate California law if it doesn’t have a formal meal and rest break policy?
  • Does an employer’s failure to keep records for meal and rest breaks taken by its employees create a legal presumption that the meal and rest breaks were not provided?

We’ve rounded up the latest news on this topic. Here are SHRM Online resources and news articles from other trusted media outlets. …

Implications for Employers

The California Supreme Court’s answers to the questions presented by the 9th Circuit could have a huge impact upon employers in the state. For example, if the state high court finds that an employer may not simply post the applicable wage order to notify employees of their meal and rest period rights, certain employers will need to change their practices and adopt a formal written policy. Furthermore, employers could face class-action lawsuits for past practices if they didn’t have formal policies. (Source - Epstein Becker Green)

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