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Fri Apr 13, 2012, 11:50 AM

California court says employers don't have to assure workers of lunch break.

What next? Bathroom breaks?


http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hyRzv8wPmrlRQCzhnyyYKLTPrZGA?docId=b279f7b3a0cf47c8961e4324bfaa92a9

Court: Managers don't have to ensure lunch breaks
By JASON DEAREN, Associated Press – 15 hours ago

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The California Supreme Court ruled Thursday that employers are under no obligation to ensure that workers take legally mandated lunch breaks in a case that affects thousands of businesses and millions of workers.

The unanimous opinion came after workers' attorneys argued that abuses are routine and widespread when companies aren't required to issue direct orders to take the breaks. They claimed employers take advantage of workers who don't want to leave colleagues during busy times.

The case was initially filed nine years ago against Dallas-based Brinker International, the parent company of Chili's and other eateries, by restaurant workers complaining of missed breaks in violation of California labor law....

13 replies, 1608 views

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Arrow 13 replies Author Time Post
Reply California court says employers don't have to assure workers of lunch break. (Original post)
Skidmore Apr 2012 OP
xchrom Apr 2012 #1
cthulu2016 Apr 2012 #2
HockeyMom Apr 2012 #4
cthulu2016 Apr 2012 #9
arcane1 Apr 2012 #6
former9thward Apr 2012 #7
cthulu2016 Apr 2012 #11
malaise Apr 2012 #3
Initech Apr 2012 #5
WeekendWarrior Apr 2012 #8
liberal N proud Apr 2012 #10
Lionessa Apr 2012 #13
Better Believe It Apr 2012 #12

Response to Skidmore (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 11:54 AM

1. ...

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Response to Skidmore (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 11:57 AM

2. That headline does not convey the story

The story is not about whether workers have lunch breaks. It is about whether businesses must force employees to take the lunch break to which they are entitled.

Unanimous court opinions are often about unexceptional points of law—in this case, what federal labor statute requires of businesses.

It's not usually about right and wrong... 90% of what high courts do is statuatory interpretation.

So if someone ought to be blamed here, it's probably congress.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #2)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 12:11 PM

4. When I worked as a secretary for a Corporation,

a number of times I worked through lunch when a deadline had to be met. Somebody bought me lunch and I ate while working. However, I was given Comp time for it and just went home early that day. If I was not given the Comp time, they would have had to pay me, as a Non-Exempt employee, overtime for working over those 40 hours.

Are they eliminating OT if an employer makes their staff not get a lunch break?

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Response to HockeyMom (Reply #4)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 12:33 PM

9. I doubt it

re: Are they eliminating OT if an employer makes their staff not get a lunch break?

Federal labor law is 40 hours=40 hours=40 hours... whether an employee opts to skip lunch or not.

I have had an employer that did exactly what was proposed in this case -- they would not allow an employee to skip lunch and would order you to go. The reason was not concern for how rested employees were, it was because if employees skipped lunch they would go over 40 hours and the company would have to pay overtime. (Which they were not inclined to do.)

In any event, I do not doubt that many businesses subtly pressure employees to skip lunch. Businesses do all sorts of rotten things. The question is what the statute requires businesses to do. Congress has the authority to say, "You must require everyone to take the lunch break to which they are entitled under this law" and that would be that.

There are some liberals on the California Supreme Court... it probably wasn't a tough case in terms of law.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #2)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 12:20 PM

6. That was my thinking as well: this doesn't prevent people from taking lunch breaks

it basically says that the employer is not responsible for making sure the employees take their breaks. They can work through lunch if they want, but they cannot be forced to take lunch or be forced to work through it.

The headline is a bit misleading.

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Response to cthulu2016 (Reply #2)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 12:20 PM

7. This is not a congressional issue.

This is a state law. That is why it was before the CA Supreme court instead of federal court.

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Response to former9thward (Reply #7)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 12:34 PM

11. My bad

Legislature, not congress

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Response to Skidmore (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 12:02 PM

3. Are these fucking people crazy

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Response to Skidmore (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 12:14 PM

5. There you have it - we officially live in the Matrix.

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Response to Skidmore (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 12:23 PM

8. I think I'm perfectly capable of deciding

when and if I want to take a lunch break. I don't need my employer to police me.

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Response to Skidmore (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 12:34 PM

10. Force being the operative word here

This ruling says that employers cannot force employees to take a break.

I don't know of too many people that you would have to force to take a break, but whatever.

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Response to liberal N proud (Reply #10)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 12:59 PM

13. I hate taking lunch breaks. I don't eat lunch.

 

I do however trade that time for longer morning and afternoon breaks to smoke a cig in my car in a relaxed and non-rushed fashion. . . when I'm working for others, which has been a while I admit.

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Response to Skidmore (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 12:38 PM

12. Employers can easily direct their workers to stop work at an assigned time for a "lunch break".

 


They are suppose to be supervising and directing "their" employees.

There was no requirement that the workers taking a required break from work must eat food during the break.

Yet another reactionary anti-worker decision by the courts.

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