Thursday, April 1, 2010

Preemption of State Rest Break Law

In 520 South Michigan Avenue Associates, Ltd. v. Shannon, 549 F.3d 1119 (7th Cir. 2008), cert. denied, 2009 U.S. LEXIS 7144 (Oct. 5, 2009), the Seventh Circuit held that a state rest break statute was preempted by the NLRA’s Machinists preemption doctrine. See Machinists v. Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission, 427 U.S. 132 (1976). The statute at issue, the Illinois Hotel Room Attendant Amendment to the One Day Rest in Seven Act, required that hotel room attendants be given two rest breaks and a meal during workdays as well as shifting the burden of proof to the employer in retaliation actions under the statute. Judge Manion, writing for the panel, stated that the Amendment was preempted under Machinists preemption doctrine as the Amendment was not a minimum labor standard; it did not have general applicability, but instead applied to only one occupation in one industry in a single county.