A recent decision by a California Court of Appeal reinforces the need for employers in the state to ensure that their employees are taking required meal and rest breaks and that such compliance is somehow documented.

On February 16, 2011, the Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Eight, held in United Parcel Service, Inc. v. Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles that an employer may be liable for two hours of pay per workday if an employee establishes that he/she was denied both a required meal break and a required rest break. The Court rejected the UPS argument that it was liable for only one hour of pay per workday under such circumstances.

Employers should take proactive measures to ensure that required meal and rest breaks are being taken. Evidence of compliance should be documented through a payroll system or otherwise.