The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce praises the decision made by the California Supreme Court regarding Brinker Restaurant Corp v. Superior Ct. After more than eight years of litigation, California businesses are finally free from a significant burden that has a critical bearing on how each business manages its employees.
In 2009, the Chamber led a local effort to file an amicus brief in the Brinker Corporation suit – an unprecedented step for the Chamber. The Chamber is proud of this effort because it helps to protect businesses from undue regulatory burdens and relieve small businesses of potential costs associated with litigation. This decision will have a positive impact on San Diego businesses, as well as their employees.
The closely watched case involved a class-action lawsuit against Brinker Corporation about employee meal and rest breaks at the company's restaurants. Brinker - which owns Chili's and Romano's Macaroni Grill - was first sued in 2004 claiming that managers pressured them to skip breaks. A California appeals court sided with Brinker in 2008, finding that the company only had to "make available" the meal breaks, but not "ensure" they were taken. In the recent decision, the state's Supreme Court agreed that employers do not have to police meal breaks as long as they relieve workers of duties at those times.