Meal & Rest Pay - Murphy v. Kenneth Cole Productions

In the most important Employment Law case of the year, the California Supreme Court recently held that the "additional hour of pay" for employees missing meal and break periods is a wage and not a penalty, thus falling under the three-year statute of limitations instead of the one-year statute of limitations.

This morning, in Murphy v. Kenneth Cole Productions, the California Supreme Court handed down a landmark ruling in what many legal experts say is the hottest employment law case of the year. Unfortunately, the Court's ruling is unfavorable for California employers.

Revisiting the ground rules governing lawsuits over missed break periods, the Court ruled that the "additional hour of pay" due employees who work through meal and rest periods constitutes a wage and not a penalty according to "[Labor Code] section 226.7's plain language, the administrative and legislative history, and the compensatory purpose of the remedy". The result of this is instead of the one-year statute of limitations governing penalty claims, employees seeking back pay for missed meal and rest periods are now entitled to a three-year statute of limitations.

This difference in classification now makes employers potentially liable for millions of dollars more in back pay and damages in wage claims cases.

The Supreme Court's ruling upholds the plaintiff's award of $64,000 for unpaid overtime, missed meal and rest periods and penalties, as well as attorney's fees of $62,000. This case comes on the heels of a $115 million award against Wal-Mart in an earlier meal break case.

If you would like a copy of the case or for more information on employer liability, feel free to contact Kyle D. Kring of Kring & Chung, LLP.

Kyle D. Kring is a Managing Partner with Kring & Chung, LLP. He can be contacted at (949) 261-7700 or

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Premium Av Preeminent 5.0 out 5 Rating Peer Review Rated LexisNexis Martindale Hubbell Avvo Super Lawyers OC Metro Register

How Can We Help You?

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Office Locations

Irvine Office
38 Corporate Park
Irvine, CA 92606

Phone: 949-345-1621
Fax: 949-261-8800
Irvine Law Office Map

San Diego Office
411 Camino del Rio South
Suite 105
San Diego, CA 92108-3508

Phone: 949-345-1621
Phone: 858-436-0268
Fax: 858-436-0279
Map & Directions

Las Vegas Office
7575 Vegas Drive
Suite 150G
Las Vegas, NV 89128

Phone: 949-345-1621
Phone: 702-260-9500
Fax: 702-260-9434
Map & Directions