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Meal Break Claims Not Pre-Empted by NLRA Even If Employees Are Bound By Collective Bargaining Agreement

Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit published an opinion in Valles v. Ivy Hill Corp., case no. 03-55440 (9th Cir. June 06, 2005), holding that employees' claims for failure to provide adequate meal periods and rest breaks is not subject to NLRA preemption if the claims are based upon the protections of California state law, without any reference to any collective bargaining agreement. The court's rationale included the observation that Section 301 did not apply because meal and rest periods are non-negotiable, and Labor Code section 219 makes it plainly clear that such rights cannot be waived by agreement, written, oral or implied. Various dicta throughout the opinion make for outstanding quotes for the wage and hour law practitioner representing employees, and I would recommend this as required reading for any competent employee's counsel dealing with meal period or rest period claims.

You can download a copy of of the opinion here in pdf format.


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