As technology advances many employers now use electronic timekeeping systems to track employees’ hours. Often times these systems use rounding software to adjust the time shown that an employee works to the nearest five or ten-minute time increment. Unfortunately for California employers, technology is not always deemed to be a good thing, as late last month the Supreme Court of California ruled in Donohue v. AMN Services, LLC (“Donohue”) that (1) employers are not permitted to round the time employees take for meal breaks and (2) any time records verifying non-compliant meal breaks can be used as a rebuttable presumption a meal break violation occurred. As one can imagine, the court’s ruling in Donohue has created a major issue for California employers using electronic timekeeping software which has been programmed to round time taken by employees for meals.
Could this ruling eventually impact employers outside of California? As we have written previously, the Biden administration and the Democratic congress are strongly in support of adding protections to workers’ rights, so chances are such a change could be coming to a state near you either in the form of new federal legislation or state law.