questionshey fellow californians, did you read about your…

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this used to drive me nuts at one company I worked for. I would spend 15 minutes eating lunch, was bored and WANTED to go back to work for the last 15 minutes of my meal break, but they wouldn't let me. I wasn't even allowed to hang out in the work area, I had to be completely out of the area where customers were. Utterly ridiculous that employers were being FORCED by the state to make sure you stayed away from work during meal breaks. It got so bad we had to sign a form at the end of each shift verifying that we took all our legally mandated rest and meal breaks.

I think this was a great decision by the court, essentially saying that you are responsible for your own actions.

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just a hunch: not a lot of companies are gonna be ok with this. at walmart you are mandated to take your lunch at certain times, and you must take certain lengths depending on the length of your shift.

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When I worked at a job that had a union, we were required to take breaks for every certain amount of hours of work. I assume this isn't addressed towards those jobs?

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@moosezilla: companies can still mandate what time you take the breaks, they are just not required by law to remind or make you take your break (unless they still want to force you to take your break at a specific time).

@curtisuxor: this has to do with state regulations. some states required that managers and supervisors had to make sure employees took their breaks at specific times. The employees and the managers had no say in it.

This ruling basically says that if it's state law or company policy that employees take their lunch break between hour 4 and 4.5 of their workday, it is the employees responsibility to take their break, and that if the employee stays at their work station of their own free will, they can not sue the employer for failing to tell them to take a break. A fairly common-sense decision, IMO.

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@kamikazeken: One of the problems ("problem" in regards to this new California Supreme Court ruling) with unionized jobs is that the union mandates that an employer give a break to the employee every few hours. As in, a manager will force you on break to avoid getting in trouble (like a lawsuit) with the union for violating the agreement.

I remember the first time I butted heads (is it butt heads? that doesn't sound right...) with management asking to defer a break to later in the day, this was explained to me in great detail. It was an absolute rule rather than something I could sign away with a form.

Unless I am not understanding this case correctly, those are two diametrically opposed situations. Union rules seem to trump this ruling.

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There are still companies in Kalifornia that schedule breaks not quite legally. As in, five employees at the pharmacy work 8-5. The boss doesn't want more than one employee taking a break at a time. Your lunch break may start anywhere from 10am to 2pm. Makes for a weird day.