In a much-anticipated ruling, the California Supreme Court found that employers may not round the time punches of their employees’ meal breaks.

The Court’s unanimous opinion, authored by Justice Goodwin H. Liu, held that rounding meal break time punches was “at odds with” and “inconsistent with the purpose of the Labor Code provisions” related to meal breaks.

The Court noted that 30-minutes for a break is already a relatively short period of time, and a reduction of even a few minutes can make a significant difference for employees struggling to balance work with other responsibilities like scheduling day care for their children. The Court also stressed the health ramifications of failing to provide employees with meal breaks, noting that “employees denied compliant meal periods face greater risk of work-related accidents and increased stress.”

The opinion also held that time records showing noncompliant meal periods raise a rebuttable presumption of meal period violations, including at the summary judgment stage.

This ruling will likely lead to many California employers scrapping their rounding practices.

A copy of the California Supreme Court’s decision can be found here.

If your employer is rounding your hours, please feel free to reach out to Lebe Law for a free consultation.