The health care industry has long allowed employees to voluntarily waive one of the 2 meal periods on shifts greater than 12 hours. Plaintiffs in Gerard v. Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center argue, however, that such a waiver violates Labor Code section 512, which does not allow waivers on shifts longer than 12 hours. Defendants argue that section 11 of Wage Orders 4 and 5 control their meal period obligations, notwithstanding section 512. (Section 11 applies to union employees, but not the state and its political subdivisions). This case has already been decided twice by the Court of Appeal, with the last decision finding the waivers valid. The Supreme Court granted review.
The case is fully briefed and awaiting oral arguments before the California Supreme Court, after which time an opinion is due within 90 days.