June 14, 2017
Authored by: Allison Eckstrom
The California Supreme Court clarified employer obligations under the state’s day of rest statutes, Cal. Labor Code §§ 550-558.1, which entitle employees to one day’s rest in seven. In Mendoza v. Nordstrom, Inc., 2 Cal. 5th 1074 (2017), a case that was (mostly) good news for employers, the Court unanimously upheld interpretations of the requirement that largely preserved scheduling flexibility for employers and employees alike.
Three questions were certified to the Court for consideration:
The day of rest requirement is calculated by workweek. After finding the plain language of sections 551 and 552 “manifestly ambiguous” and the legislative history irrelevant to the dispute, the Court held that the regulatory and statutory schemes of the day of rest laws required the day of rest requirement to apply during each workweek. The Court looked to past iterations of Wage Orders related to day of rest requirements and to section 510 of the Labor Code, which governs overtime, in deciding that sections 551 and 552 require a day of rest per workweek, and not on a rolling basis.
Importantly, the Court noted that the current wage order governing day of rest requirements only guarantees one day of rest per every seven days on average. In other words, “rest days need not fall on every seventh day and can be spaced out differently in a calendar