Supreme Court Finally Renders its Brinker Ruling: Sizzle or Fizzle?


Photo by zoetnet, flickr creative commons

On April 12, 2012, The California Supreme Court finally rendered its long awaited ruling in the Hohnbaum v. Brinker case.  The opinion sought to clarify key issues concerning meal periods and rest breaks for hourly wage workers, and the extent to which lawsuits alleging violations were amenable to class action certification.  However, such clarity may still be lacking because in a way, the Court seemed to rule both ways.  On the key issue of whether meal periods are mandatory or optional, the Court ruled that they are mandatory, but that it was optional for an employee to work during a meal period. Continue reading

Unpaid Internships Are Often Illegal (maybe even usually illegal)

internsMore and more businesses are attempting to have a few of their day to day or seasonal needs addressed through the use of unpaid “interns.”  These “interns” are often caught in the catch 22 of needing experience to land a paid job and needing a job to get experience.  Thus they often willingly, or at least begrudgingly, work for no pay.  Sometimes employers are under the belief that as long as the internship is part of a scholastic program involving certification of the internship, that it is perfectly proper to employ the intern without pay.  Some employers don’t even require a formal internship certification.  The reality is that if the business has unpaid interns for reasons other than altruism or an unselfish loyalty to its industry, chances are the unpaid internship is illegal.   Continue reading