The California Supreme Court issued a ruling in April 2012 regarding an employer’s obligation to “provide” its employees with meal breaks. The decision (Brinker Restaurant Corp. vs. Superior Court) requires employers only “provide” a meal period rather than “ensure” that employees take a meal period, as previously enforced. The Brinker decision does not change most compliance standards associated with meal periods, only technically, relieves employers from paying meal penalties. Under Brinker, an employer meal period is “provided” when:
  1. Employer relieves the employee of all duties.
  2. Employer ceases control over the employee’s activities during this time.
  3. Employer provides an uninterrupted 30-minute break.
  4. Employer does not impede or discourage an employee from taking a 30-minute break

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