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On October 4, 2011, the California Supreme Court announced that it will hear oral argument in Brinker v. Superior Court (Hohnbaum) on Tuesday, November 8, 2011, at 9:00 a.m. in San Francisco.  Because the Court’s procedures typically require it to file its written opinion within 90 days of oral argument, employers can reasonably expect a decision in the case sometime between December 2011 and February 2012.

The long-awaited decision is expected to provide clarity concerning the proper interpretation of California’s statutes and regulations governing an employer’s duty to provide meal and rest breaks to non-exempt workers.  Among other things, the Court is expected to rule on the crucial issue of whether California meal period laws require employers to ensure that employees take uninterrupted meal breaks or whether employers are required to provide their employees the opportunity to take such breaks, which the employee may voluntarily decide to skip with no adverse consequence to  the employer.

We will continue to issue updates as this case progresses.