Unprecedented: Could Lack of Break Policy Violate Law?

August 22, 2019 | From HRCalifornia Extra

by Michelle Galbraith, J.D.; HR Adviser, CalChamber

Judges typically decide lawsuits by looking to precedent: How have other courts ruled on similar issues in the past? But on occasion, a litigant raises an entirely new issue that has no direct precedent. When this happens, the court can ask the California Supreme Court how it would rule on the particular set of facts (this is called “certifying the issue”). The lawsuit is then put on hold until the Supreme Court issues its ruling.

Earlier this month, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals certified two questions relating to meal and rest breaks to the California Supreme Court — the answers to which will impact not only the litigants to the Ninth Circuit case, but all California employers with nonexempt employees (Cole v. CRST Van Expedited (9th Cir. No. 17-55606 8/1/19)).

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