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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 111600
Experience:  20+ Years of Employment Law Experience
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I manage an emergency veterinary hospital in California. We

Customer Question

I manage an emergency veterinary hospital in California. We have 35 employees. People don't really get to leave the hospital and we are on alternative work week scheduling. I have the employees sign a waiver for their first meal but if they work 12 hours, they have to take their second thirty minute break right? How can I require them to clock out if they could be called into the treatment area to attend to an emergency. I'm also concerned about this because righ now, it's not showing that people take breaks because they don't clock out. Even though I know that for the vast majority of the time they are getting their breaks. Please advise.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
Under CA law, only ONE meal period in a day can be waived by mutual consent, so if there is a second meal period required, you cannot get the employee to waive that second period. You would need to find a way to provide for them to take one of their two breaks in the day for their meal break and make them clock out for at least one of the two breaks and sign the mutual waiver for the other. It is not up to the employer to police this according to the CA Supreme Court in Brinker Restaurant Corporation v. Superior Court, S166350 (CA 2012). The CA court held holding that employers do not have to ensure employees take their meal breaks. Once the meal period is provided, there is no duty to police meal breaks to ensure no work is being done.
So you have to provide for one meal break a day if they are in a situation where they are entitled to two breaks and it is up to the employee to make time to take it because they can only waive one of the two daily breaks.