Favorable Post-Brinker Cases Depublished
Meal and rest period cases continue to arise after the welcomed California Supreme Court decision in Brinker v. Superior Court.
Related cases were placed on hold pending the Brinker decision, and some have been decided on review. In two of those cases, Flores v. Lamps Plus (Lamps Plus Overtime cases) and Hernandez v. Chipotle, courts issued decisions that were favorable for employers — in both, the courts denied class certification.
The Brinker court held that employers must only provide a meal break and not ensure it is taken. In light of this finding, the Lamps Plus and Hernandez courts found that whether the employer was liable for a meal break violation required an individualized inquiry as to why any particular employee missed a specific break.
As a result, class certification was not appropriate because courts would have to consider individual issues and facts to make a determination about employer liability. These cases were both initially published.
However, the employee plaintiffs asked the California Supreme Court to review the decisions. The Supreme Court denied review, but at the same time depublished the cases. The decision to depublish these cases is an indicator that the Court disagreed with the underlying analysis on the class certification issue.
California employers still face a tough legal landscape. Wage-and-hour class action suits will not disappear any time soon.
Gail Cecchettini Whaley, CalChamber Employment Law Editor/Staff Counsel
CalChamber customers can purchase our Employee Handbook Software, which features updated meal-and-rest-period policies for 2013. Members can also visit HRCalifornia for a comprehensive discussion of the effects of the Brinker decision on California employers.