A California Court of Appeal has held that California Labor Code sections dealing with overtime compensation, meal breaks and rest breaks don’t apply to California’s “charter counties.”
Recent case: Carson Curcini and several other prison chaplains working in the Santa Rita jail sued the county of Alameda, alleging that they had been denied overtime, meal breaks and rest breaks mandated by California’s labor laws. They filed the charges after they began to suspect that the county wanted to get rid of them and replace them with less expensive providers of religious services for inmates.
But the court dismissed their case. It said that the state labor laws that the preachers wanted to enforce weren’t binding because Alameda is a so-called “charter county.”
The court noted that under the California Constitution:
- “[W]hen a California county adopts a charter, its provisions ‘are the law of the State and have the force and effect of legislative enactments.’”
- “[U]nder the ‘home rule’ doctrine, county charter provisions concerning the operation of the county, and specifically [those] including the county’s right to provide ‘for the number, compensation, tenure, and appointment of employees[,]’... trump conflicting state laws.”
(Curcini, et al., v. County of Alameda, No. A115652, California Court of Appeal, 1st Appellate Division, 2008)