The opinion is up. Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court (Hohnbaum), ___ Cal.4th ___ (Apr. 12, 2012).
UPDATE: I've never gotten so many calls from reporters in a single day before. With all the calls, and reviewing and analyzing the 50-page opinion, I haven't had time to write up my thoughts yet. I will do that as soon as I can, hopefully by tomorrow.
In the meantime, suffice it to say we are extremely pleased with the opinion. Brinker is a win for California workers, no two ways about it.
The Supreme Court rejected the employers' primary argument that meal periods need only be "offered"; adopted almost all of our arguments regarding the steps an employer must take to comply with the meal period laws; and reconfirmed the availability of the class action device as a means to vindicate California wage and hour protections for the benefit of workers. The Court reinstated the trial court's order granting certification of the rest break class in full. The Court held that employers may not push workers' meal periods to the end of the workday, and that "as a general matter," on a typical eight-hour shift, one rest break should fall on either side of the meal period. In other words, the Court confirmed the most important components of the basic protective structure of the Wage Orders, first established decades ago.
There's a lot more to say about the opinion and I hope to have time soon to say it.