Tuesday, September 21, 2010

First District Follows Fifth District in Concluding that Meal/Rest Break Statutes Are Inapplicable to Public Employees: California Correctional Peace Officers’ Association v. State of California

On September 17, 2010, the First District (Division Four) changed the status of its opinion in California Correctional Peace Officers’ Association v. State of California from unpublished to published. The opinion affirmed the trial court’s determination that Labor Code Sections 226.7 and 512 relating to meal and rest periods  do not apply to public employees. As reasoned by the Court, “[a] traditional rule of statutory construction is that, absent express words to the contrary, governmental agencies are not included within the general words of a statute.” See Slip Opinion, at 5. From this starting point, the Court rejected arguments that the Legislature’s failure to expressly exclude public entities in Section 226.7 and 512, while expressly excluding public entities in other Labor Code provisions was a sufficient basis to conclude that the Legislature intended such provisions to extend to public employees. See id., at 5-6.

The Court’s holding follows similar analysis by the Fifth District last year in Johnson v. Arvin-Edison Water Storage Dist., 174 Cal.App.4th 729 (2009)

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