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Day of Rest and Mendoza v. Nordstrom

In its May 8, 2017 decision in Mendoza v. Nordstrom, (9th Cir. 2015) 778 F.3d 834, the California Supreme Court addressed the California Labor Code and its construction of the state’s day of rest statutes. Specifically, the court addressed the following:

  • Is the day of rest required by Cal. Lab. Code §§ 551 and 552 calculated by the workweek, or does it apply on a rolling basis to any seven-consecutive-day period? The court explained that a day of rest is guaranteed for each workweek. Periods of more than six consecutive days of work that stretch across more than one workweek are not per se prohibited.
  • Does the Cal. Lab. Code § 556 exemption for workers employed six hours or less per day apply so long as an employee works six hours or less on at least one day of the applicable week, or does it apply only when an employee works no more than six hours on each and every day of the week? Per the court, the exemption for employees working shifts of six hours or less applies only to those who never exceed six hours of work on any day of the workweek. If on any one day an employee works more than six hours, a day of rest must be provided during that workweek, subject to whatever other exceptions might apply.
  • What does it mean for an employer to “cause” an employee to go without a day of rest as stated in Cal. Lab. Code § 552? Is it to force, coerce, pressure, schedule, encourage, reward, permit, or something else? The court held that an employer causes its employee to go without a day of rest when it induces the employee to forgo rest to which he or she is entitled. An employer is not, however, forbidden from permitting or allowing an employee, fully apprised of the entitlement to rest, independently to choose not to take a day of rest.

Read the Decision