Brinker Restaurant Corp v. Superior Ct (Supreme Ct. # S 166350) is the case you may have heard about which will decide whether meal breaks are mandatory or permissive (i.e. whether an employee must or may take them) and whether meal period claims may be brought as class actions or must be decided on a case by case per employee basis.
This case has been pending before the California Supreme Court now for nearly 3 years. Initially, the plaintiff/employees received a favorable ruling, which was subsequently overturned by the appellate court in favor of the defendants. Numerous organizations state-wide have weighed-in with their opinions on the case in the form of friends of the Court or amicus curiae briefs. By all accounts, the decision is long past due the date when it was expected. As stated in the legal trade journal California Lawyer “Unaccountably, the Brinker meal-break appeal has languished on the high court’s back burner for nearly two years.” (Gimme a Break, August 2011, p. 12)