Labor Law -- 2017

Mendoza v. Nordstrom, Inc.   (California Supreme Court)

Understanding California's Day-of-Rest law

This case involves the interpretation of a California statute that provides for “one day’s rest in seven.” The plaintiff wanted the law interpreted to require one day off for every six days in a row worked. Nordstrom argued that the one-in-seven provision applies to each workweek block, so that an employee is able to work more than six days in a row without violating the law.

An employee’s right to take a day’s rest is not the issue in dispute; it is whether employees should have the ability to choose whether they exercise that right. The NAM believes they should. Most California employees will be harmed—not helped—if the plaintiff’s arguments for abandoning the workweek framework and supporting a mandatory day-off policy prevail. Employers will no longer be able to provide the degree of flexibility and autonomy that employees deserve in managing their work schedules if a mandatory day off is required. The NAM filed an amicus brief contending that the statute must be interpreted in a way that is reasonable, practical, and that confers the most benefit on both employees and employers. Specifically, the NAM’s brief argued (1) that the workweek is the proper and most reasonable framework for calculating the required day of rest and (2) the law should be interpreted to encourage employee flexibility and autonomy in scheduling.

In May, 2017, the court decided, in agreement with the NAM’s arguments, that (1) a day’s rest in seven is guaranteed and that the workweek framework is proper, meaning periods of six or more consecutive workdays spanning more than one week are not facially prohibited and (2) an employee can agree to work more than six days in a week if the employer does not induce that decision.

Related Documents:
NAM brief  (November 30, 2015)


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