On October 5, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill confirming that employees in the health care industry can waive one of their two meal periods when working a shift of over eight hours in a workday. This law clarifies confusion caused by a recently decided appellate case, Gerard v. Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center, 234 Cal.App.4th 285 (C.A. 4th, 2015) (review granted). The Gerard case is currently under review by the California Supreme Court.
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In a recent turn of events, the California Court of Appeal ruled in Gerard v. Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center (Feb. 10, 2015) that healthcare workers cannot waive their second meal period when working shifts in excess of 12-hours despite the Industrial Welfare Commission’s (“IWC”) order to the contrary. The court found that the IWC lacked authority to circumvent the California Labor Code and, therefore, partially invalidated Wage Order No. 5-2001, which governs the healthcare industry.
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