The Late Lunch

Many employees would appreciate taking a late lunch for a variety of reasons: to pick kids up from school, to visit elderly friends or relatives before going home, or just to get any number of errands done before the close of the business day.  It may seem like late lunch requests increase in the summer season.  Many employers would like to accommodate such requests.  Despite recent case law clarifying that employers just have to make meal periods and rest breaks available to employees, the "late lunch" could still get California employers into (expensive) hot water.  Failing to record meal periods taken by non-exempt employees still leaves employers open to premiums and penalties. And, it has overtime implications that are not necessarily apparent when an employer grants a request by an employee to work through lunch in an effort to leave early.  Unfortunately, the best policy for employers is to require all employees to take their meal periods on time, record meal periods taken, and not to permit employees to take a late lunch.