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Calif. High Court Ruling Brings Clarity for Employers, Employees

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(San Francisco, CA)
Thursday, April 12, 2012

Read the California Supreme Court ruling in Brinker Restaurant Corporation v. Superior Court

It's not often that a court ruling in such a high-profile case brings these reactions from the competing sides:

Rubin: "We're thrilled by the ruling."
Frank: "The decision's fantastic."

That first voice is Michael Rubin.  He's the lawyer for workers who sued a restaurant chain saying they were pressured to work through rest periods and meal breaks.  He says the ruling is very clear:

Rubin: "If the employer does pressure them, dissuades them, discourages them, impedes their ability to take the break, the employer will be liable."

But the court went on to say that once the employer makes those breaks available, it's up to the employee to decide whether to take them.  That brings us to the second voice: Erika Frank with the California Chamber of Commerce.

Frank: "It's a common-sense ruling for both employers and employees regarding how and when to take meal and rest breaks in California."

One group isn't so happy: the California Labor Federation says the "unjust" ruling "erodes" workers' rights to meal breaks.

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