Taco Bell allowed its employees’ 30-minute meal breaks during which the employees were relieved of all work duties and employer control as required by California law. But Taco Bell also allowed the employees to buy discounted meals during or immediately before or after their work shift as an added employment benefit—with a catch: the employee had to eat the discounted meal on the Taco Bell premises to make sure that the employee was eating it, not giving it away to family or friends. This decision holds that the requirement that the discounted meal be eaten on Taco Bell premises was not an exercise of employer control over the employee sufficient to violate California law regarding meal breaks. The employee was free to choose whether to take a discounted meal and apart from having to eat it at the Taco Bell, the employer exercised no control over the employee during the meal.
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Schroeder, J.); July 18, 2018; 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 19825