After a decade of ups and downs on the question of federal preemption, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (“FMSCA”) decision to preempt California’s meal and rest break rules.  The long-awaited decision in IBT v. FMCSA upholds the FMSCA’s December 2018 determination that drivers, who are involved in interstate commerce and subject to federal hours-of-service regulations, are exempt from California’s stringent meal and rest break rules because they are “incompatible” with federal regulations.  “The FMCSA reached this conclusion because California required more breaks, more often and with less flexibility as to timing,” the Court’s three-judge panel said in its January 15 opinion.
Continue Reading The Ninth Circuit Puts the Brakes on Truckers’ California Meal and Rest Break Claims

This month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) requires employers to compensate employees for all rest breaks of twenty minutes or less.

Background

American Future Systems arose from a suit filed by the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) on behalf of former employees of publishing company American Future Systems, Inc. dba Progressive Business Publications (“Progressive”) under the FLSA. Progressive employed sales representatives who were paid by the hour and received bonuses based on the number of sales made while they were logged onto their work computers. These employees were previously subject to a policy which gave them two fifteen-minute paid breaks per day, however, Progressive eliminated the policy in favor of a so-called “flexible time” policy under which they could log-off their work computers at any time, for any reason. Although employees were free to take as many breaks as they wanted, they were not paid for these breaks if they were logged off for more than a minute and a half, including short breaks spent in the bathroom or getting coffee.


Continue Reading Short Rest Breaks are Compensable Under the FLSA