A case being considered by the California Supreme Court has the potential
to affect meal and rest breaks for all nonunion employees. At issue in
Brinker v. Superior Court is whether an employer must ensure that hourly employees take breaks.
Currently, the California law provides that workers are entitled to a meal
break after five hours of work. However, in practice many workers are
unable to take scheduled meal breaks as the result of excessive work loads
that worker’s can’t complete in the scheduled work day.
If you have questions concerning whether you are entitled to meal and rest
breaks, and whether you are entitled to compensation for this time worked,
it is important to speak to an experienced
Atlanta wage and hour attorney.
The case was filed by five Brinker employees on behalf of company workers
statewide. An estimated 60,000 hourly workers are included in the class
action lawsuit. Brinker International operates several chain restaurants
including Chili’s Grill & Bar. The workers assert that during
busy times, they were unable to take their scheduled breaks.
Employee representatives further allege that based on California Labor
Code provisions, employers must ensure that workers actually take those
breaks. Making sure that employees are allowed breaks affects “vital
protections” concerning the health and safety of workers and members
of the public served by them. Company representatives counter that employers
must only make the breaks “available” and that workers and
managers may be flexible about when the employees actually take those
break. Where workers miss a meal break, they may be entitled to one hour
of overtime pay.
Early reports indicate that the justices appeared split on how they will
decide this significant
wage and hour case.
As Georgia wage and hour attorneys we will be following this case closely
to determine how it may impact workers access to meal and rest breaks,
fair labor practices and compensation. For more information, contact the
Georgia overtime attorneys The Buckley Law Firm, LLC.