Wednesday, May 10, 2017

California Supreme Court Interprets "Day of Rest" Statute

In Mendoza v. Nordstrom, Inc., (CA Sup. Ct., May 8, 2017), the California Supreme Court issued an opinion answering questions certified to it by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on the meaning of California's "Day of Rest" statute.  At issue is the meaning of California Labor Code §551 which provides: "Every person employed in any occupation of labor is entitled to one day's rest therefrom in seven."  Looking at the history of the provision, the Court said:
Given that religious days of rest, though they vary between denominations, typically recur on the same day each week, the statute could be understood as extending a guarantee of a day of rest every week, on a day of the individual‘s choosing, or, equally, a day of rest at least every seventh day.
The Court concluded that the statute guarantees a day of rest sometime in each work week, so that an employee might work for more than 7 consecutive days. It also concluded that "An employer is not ... forbidden from permitting or allowing an employee, fully apprised of the entitlement to rest, independently to choose not to take a day of rest."