Friction and dispute between employer and employee in the work-place, is as old as time, itself. Recall, that Moses was banished from Egypt and its royal house, for killing an overseer, whom he observed abusing a slave. By the time of the onset of the Industrial Revolution, mass production in crowded unhealthy factories, would give rise to an ever increasing mass abuse in the work-place; as owners and managers fiercely competed to increase output and profits in a growing global market-place.
However, that very growth, and the sometimes injurious collateral consequences it included, led to an outcry from society, to end perceived exploitation and abuse.
By the time of the advent of governmental regulatory boards and agencies, there came into being, specific laws that were aimed toward limiting hours of work (at least without “over-time-pay”), and providing periods during a regular “shift”, for meals and “potty-breaks.” Nevertheless, things appeared to drift toward another extreme, where the regulatory agencies became overly concerned with possible abuse, and to an extent that employers were required to ensure not only the break periods, but also that the employees would be forced to take them, and even to an extent that they would not be allowed anywhere near their work stations.
That’s when our California Supreme Court has recently stepped-in to clarify, that while it is absolutely required that employers must provide the breaks, and without any requirement for employees to be at their work stations, it is no longer necessary for the bosses to ensure that workers leave the work areas. In fact, employees are free to remain at their work stations during meal and other breaks, and to even work if they should wish.
That’s a lot of freedom.
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