Ruling: Meal period tracking must be precise

On Behalf of | May 10, 2021 | employment law

Compliance is an essential part of any employer’s job. It is their responsibility to ensure they adhere to all labor laws and practices. And one practice that employers cannot overlook is timekeeping.

Proper timekeeping is critical to avoid the common wage and hour lawsuits that employees bring against employers. However, it has become even more significant under a new ruling.

California Supreme Court: No rounding meal periods

This case – Donohue v. AMN Services, LLC – is one of the most significant employment rulings so far in 2021. In this case, the California Supreme Court determined that employers cannot round their employees’ meal breaks.

California law is very specific regarding meal periods. It states that employers must offer a 30-minute meal period after five hours of working. However, it is common for employers to use automated systems for time-keeping that often round to the nearest quarter-hour or even ten-minute period. Yet the Court ruled that this automation is a violation of employees’ rights.

There is no doubt that this ruling will have a considerable impact on employers throughout the state. These types of violations can leave employers facing serious penalties, so they must strategize to reduce the risk they face.

Employers have to ensure accuracy

Employers know they must pay close attention to detail to make sure they are in compliance with the many laws that govern the workplace. And this ruling means that an employer’s focus on detail is more important than ever.

In light of this case, employers should make sure they:

  • Examine their employees’ time records closely
  • Evaluate their practices for recording work time and meal periods
  • Adjust their policies and employee trainings as necessary

Minor discrepancies could lead to a number of legal issues for employers. So, all employers must take care to ensure their timekeeping systems and policies are accurate.