It appears that oral argument before the California Supreme Court in Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court will be broadcast live on-line on the California Channel on November 8, 2011 at 9 a.m.   While it is unlikely this will inspire families to gather around their computers as they gathered around their radios to listen to breaking news decades ago, more than a few employers with operations in California may want to listen to this oral argument on a critical issue that affects all such employers – whether employee meal and rest breaks must be “ensured” or merely made “available.”

If the California Supreme Court rules that meal and rest breaks must be “ensured,” most employers will need to implement new policies and practices the very next day.  And most will be vulnerable to the very type of wage-hour class actions that have besieged California employers for the past decade.