Employment Law Blog

Filter:  Reinhardt v. Gemini Motor Transport

Preemptions: State vs. Federal Labor Law

Pursuant to the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, the laws of the United States “shall be the supreme Law of the Land.” (U.S. Const., Art. VI.) Thus, state law that conflicts with federal law is “without effect” and preempted. Cipollone v. Liggett Group, Inc. (1992) 505 U.S. 504, 516. Federal law can preempt state law either by express provision, by implication, or by a conflict between federal and state law. New York State Conference of Blue Cross & Blue Shield Plans v. Travelers Insurance Company (1995) 514 U.S. 645, 654 (“Travelers”). However, where the possibility of preemption arises from an express statutory provision, there is no need to consider any possible implied preemptive effect, since, “Congress’ enactment of a provision defining the preemptive reach of a statute implies that matters beyond that reach are not preempted.” Cipollone, supra, 505 U.S. at 517.


California Wage and Hour Laws for Large Corporations

“Meal and rest periods have long been viewed as part of the remedial worker protection framework.” Murphy, infra. California law requires employers to authorize and permit rest breaks for every four hours of work or major fraction thereof. The California Supreme Court in Brinker, infra, explained that the “major fraction thereof” requirement means one break for a shift greater than 3.5 but less than 6 (“3.5>6”) hours long, two breaks for a shift greater than 6 but less than 8 (“6>8”) hours long, and three breaks for a shift greater than 10 but less than 12 (“10>12”) hours long.

California Labor Code section 226.7 prohibits employers from requiring its employees to work during any rest period mandated by the Industrial Welfare Commission (“IWC”) Wage Orders. “[I]n light of the remedial nature of the legislative enactments authorizing the regulation of wages, hours and working conditions for the protection and benefit of employees, the statutory provisions are to be liberally construed with an eye to promoting such protection.” Industrial Welfare Com. v. Superior Court, 27 Cal.3d 690, 702 (1980). “[T]he IWC’s wage orders are entitled to ‘extraordinary deference, both in upholding their validity and in enforcing their specific terms.’” Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court, 53 Cal.4th 1004, 1027 (2012) (quoting Martinez v. Combs, 49 Cal.4th 35, 61 (2010)). Rest break requirements “have long been viewed as part of the remedial worker protection framework.” Murphy v. Kenneth Cole Productions, Inc., 40 Cal.4th 1094, 1105 (2007).