A recent dismissal of a case by employees against retail giant Nordstrom has some important ramifications for companies that have complex scheduling challenges for their employees.
In the case of Mendoza v. Nordstrom, Inc., employees argued that they did not receive their day of rest, as mandated by state law because their work schedules stretched from one traditional workweek into another. Per the California Labor Code Sections 551 and 552, employees are required to have one rest day out of seven working days.
In dismissing the case against Nordstrom, it was ruled that state law entitles employees to one day of rest within the employer’s defined workweek. That defined workweek is flexible: it can be Monday through Sunday, Wednesday through Tuesday or Friday through Thursday, as the business model for companies like Nordstrom operate beyond the parameters of traditionally defined workweeks.
The court also noted that if the workers’ shifts are always under six hours (without a single work day exceeding that time limit), workers can work over six consecutive days without a rest day and not have the employer in violation of the Labor Code.
The court ruling provides important learnings for California employers:
Workweeks are defined by consecutive days, not the traditional weekly work calendar.
Should a worker be assigned to work over six consecutive days, no one day of that workweek can exceed a six-hour shift.
Keep in mind that employers are prohibited from enforcing full workdays (exceeding six hours) for six consecutive days without a rest day in between.
While this case focused on California labor law, it illustrates the challenges for employers everywhere. There are many grey areas that can exist within labor laws. While the court ruling in the case of Nordstrom resulted in a judgment more favorable to employers, companies should be vigilant of labor laws and their appropriate applications when scheduling employees for work shifts.