The California Supreme Court set oral argument in Brinker v. Superior Court for November 8, 2011. Once the oral argument occurs, the justices can take up to 90 days to give a written opinion in the case.
This means we could have a decision by early February 2012, if not sooner.
Employers have been anticipating a decision in this case for three years now. The key issue before the court is: What does the word “provide” mean? Does it mean employers are required to merely make meal and rest periods available? Or does it mean employers must make sure that employees take them? Other issues before the court include the timing of meal and rest periods.
While waiting for the Brinker ruling, California courts of appeal continued to rule that employers do not have to force employees to take meal periods, but only make them available for employees to take. These decisions have been placed on hold until the Supreme Court resolves the Brinker issues.
Despite these decisions, until Brinker is decided, employers must continue to make sure that their employees take these breaks.