Northern California Record

Monday, July 15, 2019

California Supreme Court upholds day of rest requirement in case against Nordstrom

By Chandra Lye | May 30, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO — The California Supreme Court recently settled a dispute in a class-action lawsuit against Nordstrom regarding the California Labor Code’s day of rest requirement.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal sent the case to the high court for clarification on whether the code allows for a day of rest after six consecutive working days. 

The question was raised following a lawsuit by former employees of retail store Nordstrom. Christopher Mendoza and Meagan Gordon sued the company in a putative class-action case on behalf of all California employees of the store. 

Mendoza and Gordon had been asked to cover shifts at the store that meant they would work more than six consecutive days. It was not clear to the lower court whether the code referred to a working week or consecutive work days. There was also an exemption for those who worked less than six hours per shift. The shifts that Mendoza and Gordon worked were often less than six hours. 

Nordstrom had the case moved to federal court and a summary judgement was granted on claims other than the day of rest allegations. Following a bench trial, the court ruled that Section 551 counted for seven consecutive days of work. However, the court held that the day of rest did not apply if the employee had at least one shift of less than six hours during that time. 

The plaintiffs appealed, and now the matter is before the California Supreme Court. 

The high court said in its decision that employees should be allowed one day of rest during the working week, but not the rolling basis that the lower court had determined. 

The court also held that the "'six hours or less’ daily exception is satisfied only if every daily shift that week has entailed six hours or less of work.”

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