Employer Must Have Written Meal Period Agreement, Which Includes A Revocation Clause
Spectrum contracts with federal agencies to take temporary custody of federal prisoners and ICE detainees who must travel offsite for medical treatment and other appointments; Spectrum’s officers provide continuous supervision until the individuals are returned to their custodial locations. Spectrum had a policy that required on-duty meal periods for which officers were paid at their regular rate, but it did not have a written agreement with its employees that included an advisement that employees could revoke, in writing, the on-duty meal break policy agreement at any time.
The Court of Appeal held that the employees were entitled to premium wages since the employer did not have a written agreement that included an on-duty meal period revocation clause; unpaid premium wages for meal break violations accrue prejudgment interest at the rate of seven percent; unpaid premium wages for meal break violations do not entitle employees to additional remedies for inaccurate wage statements if the statements include the wages earned for on-duty meal breaks but not the unpaid premium wages; absent a violation of Cal. Lab. Code § 226 (wage statements), attorney’s fees under Section 226(e) may not be awarded; and the trial court erred in denying class certification of a rest break class. See also Ferra v. Loews Hollywood Hotel, LLC, 2019 WL 5061494 (Cal. Ct. App. 2019) (meal and rest premiums are to be paid at employees’ hourly base rate of compensation; employer’s neutral rounding policy did not systematically undercompensate employees).