Employment Law – Meal Breaks – Employers not required to ensure meal breaks are taken

A California appellate court in the case of Hernandez v. Chipotle is the latest California case to weigh in on meal breaks.

Although the primary ruling was on class action issues that we won’t get into, the Hernandez court did confirm that although employers are required to provide meal breaks of at least 30 minutes for a work period of more than 5 hours, the employers are not required to make sure that such meal breaks are actually taken.  This is because “requiring enforcement of meal breaks would place an undue burden on employers whose employees are numerous or who do not appear to remain in contact with the employer during the day.”  In this case, the affected workers were Chipotle restaurant employees.

Of course, the looming Brinker case, currently under consideration by the California Supreme Court, could change all this but for now this is the law in California.

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