Five truck drivers sued their former employer for violations related to meal breaks, rest breaks, and itemized wage statements.

Although the drivers’ collective bargaining agreement provided the drivers with a 30-minute meal break every five hours and two 15-minute rest periods for every 8- and 10-hour shift, the employer neither scheduled meal breaks nor included rest breaks as part of the drivers’ acceptable delays.

Because the employer did not schedule meal breaks, most drivers ate their meals while driving or entirely skipped their meal nearly every working day. The Court held that by pressuring the drivers to make more than one daily trip, the employer discouraged the drivers from stopping for lunch. The Court also stated that the employer could not assume that the drivers would take their meal breaks since employers had “an affirmative obligation to ensure that workers are actually relieved of all duty.”

Although rest breaks did not have to be recorded, the Court held that drivers would not take rest breaks because employers did not include them in the list of acceptable delays (such as construction).

California Labor Code requires that employers who intentionally do not provide itemized wage statements to their employees, including hours worked, are subject to monetary penalties and guilty of a misdemeanor. While the drivers manually inputed the hours that they actually worked, the itemized statements always listed the drivers’ hours as 40 hours per week.

The Court concluded that the employer failed to prove that it provided the drivers with adequately itemized wage statements and required rest and meal breaks.

Case: Cicairos v. Summit Logistics, Inc., C048133 (October 27, 2005)

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