California Supreme Court Continues to Define the Scope of Hours Worked

April 11, 2024 | From HRCalifornia Extra

by Matthew J. Roberts, J.D.; Associate General Counsel for Labor and Employment, CalChamber

In recent years, the California Supreme Court has issued decisions that have broadened and strengthened the rules around “hours worked” and compensable time for nonexempt employees, including Troester v. Starbucks, which rejected the federal de minimis rule excluding some small amounts of time from compensation, and Frlekin v. Apple, which required compensation as hours worked for end of shift security checks of employee belongings.

Following this trend, the California Supreme Court recently held that where an employer exercises sufficient control over an employee’s actions, that time under the employer’s control will be compensable (Huerta v. CSI Electrical Contractors, No. S275431 (March 25, 2024)).

The court in Huerta even expanded “hours worked” to situations where a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the employer and employee allowed for unpaid, on-duty meal periods because of the employer’s control over the employee’s actions despite CBAs generally exempting employers from meal period rules.

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