Foodservice Equipment Reports

Decision Delayed In Brinker Meal-Break Case

There will be no decision, and thus no clarity, in the long-running California case of Brinker Int’l. v. Superior Court, until spring at the earliest.

A ruling by the California Supreme Court had been expected by February in the class-action suit that involves standards setting timely and realistic meal and rest breaks. Oral arguments were completed in November. But after three years in its docket, the Supreme Court has ordered further briefing on the issue of whether its eventual decision will operate going forward or retroactively.

Additional briefing will be completed this week and the Court will now have until April 13 to issue its decision, assuming no additional delays. 

The ruling is expected to set forth a new and detailed standard for determining whether an employer has successfully provided timely and realistic meal and rest breaks to its employees.  

The plaintiffs maintain that the employer is required to make sure that each employee takes his or her authorized breaks. Brinker maintains that an employer need only provide, rather than guarantee, breaks authorized by law and employer policy.

The specifics include whether meal periods are required during every five consecutive hours worked or need only be provided based on the total number of hours worked over the entire day. A decision in favor of the "rolling" or "consecutive" five-hour meal standard could significantly affect employers in the restaurant industry, such as Brinker, that often provide meal periods at or around the start of a shift.

Related Articles

Brinker Slates Wyman Roberts For CEO

Brinker Int'l.

Brinker To Acquire 11 Canadian Chili's Units