California Appeals Court Gives Employers Leverage in ‘Day of Rest’ Complaints

A California court has made a ruling that gives employers more flexibility in so-called “day of rest” claims against their employers, according to recent interviews with an attorney in that state that appeared in a legal newspaper recently.

The federal appeals court in San Francisco made a ruling in favor of a Nordstrom store after a class action suit alleged the company had violated two of its employees rights for not allowing for the state’s required day of rest that requires employers to give their employees a single day of rest out of a seven  consecutive day work week. A recent interview with a Sacremento attorney named Katherine Sandberg with Legal Newsline detailed some of the specifics of the case.

In August, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a lower court ruling dismissing “day of rest” claims brought by two former Nordstrom employees. Sandberg, who works at Fisher and Phillips law office, told reporters that the general trend in California was previously “anti-employer, pro-employee” in nature.

In an analysis on historical white Christian values of taking Sundays off, Sandberg noted that society has evolved. The following was quoted directly from the Legal Newsline interview and report:

“Flexibility ultimately is the takeaway. Slowly we’ve chipped away at observing a day of rest on each Sunday to saying there’s no requirement that it occur on any specific day of the week.”

In the end, the two hourly employers were not protected by the law because they were part-time, but there were some specific nuances to understand from a legal standpoint as a consumer or even worker or employer. The lawsuit came in 2014. It was initially dismissed in district court because the employees worked less than six hours per shift and were not forced to work those shifts. The employees appealed. These employees and their attorneys in this case also attempted to assert that they were “aggrieved” but the court said that standard was not met either because under the state’s Private Attorneys General Act, or PAGA, and thus could not “swap” out someone to satisfy that requirement.

In fact, the court opined that none of the employees worked more than six consecutive days in a work week, thus failing to demonstrate California Labor Code sections 551 and 552 violations could  be met.

As this interview pointed out, many of the laws regarding this day off had to do with religious customs that dominated the culture and found their way into the penal code of our society, but eventually many of those laws were repealed upon scrutiny in federal courts.

The final statement of the ruling was made as follows:

“Over years of litigation, the parties had ample opportunity to shape their theories of this case. Nothing in the district court’s order or this court’s opinion prevents a proper plaintiff from bringing a new action to vindicate his or her rights in the future. In the circumstances, the district court did not err by dismissing the case.”

Judge Susan P. Graber issued the opinion. Ronald M. Gould and Consuelo M. Callahan were the other two judges on the panel.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.