Rules Regarding One Day’s Rest in Seven Days Worked

Rules Regarding One Day’s Rest in Seven Days Worked

By Robert L. Rediger, Esq.

On May 8, 2017, the California Supreme Court handed down a decision in Mendoza v. Nordstrom, Inc. wherein it clarified an employer’s obligations concerning the state’s day of rest statutes found in Labor Code sections 550–558.1. Generally, California prohibits an employer from causing its employees to work more than six days in seven in a workweek. The high court in Mendoza articulated the following rules:

(1) A day of rest is guaranteed for each workweek. Periods of more than six consecutive days of work that stretch across more than one workweek are not per se prohibited.

(2) The exemption for employees working shifts of six hours or less applies only to those who never exceed six hours of work on any day of the workweek. If on any one day an employee works more than six hours, a day of rest must be provided during that workweek, subject to whatever other exceptions might apply.

(3) An employer causes its employee to go without a day of rest when it induces the employee to forgo rest to which he or she is entitled. An employer is not, however, forbidden from permitting or allowing an employee, fully apprised of the entitlement to rest, independently to choose not to take a day of rest.

Employers should ensure that their wage and hour policies, including policies addressing one day’s rest in seven, meal and rest periods, record keeping, rounding of time, exempt employees, prohibitions against working overtime and off-the-clock, paid sick leave, etc., are in compliance with federal, state and local laws to reduce the likelihood that they will be served with a “class action complaint” alleging various violations of the wage and hour laws.