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Second District Affirms Denial of Class Certification in Meal and Rest Break Class Action, Holding That Employers Need Not Ensure Employees Take Breaks

In Certification, Class Actions, Meal and Rest Breaks on October 5, 2010 at 5:25 am
Chipotle Mexican Grill at 2608 Erwin Road next...
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In a putative meal and rest break class action, the Second District denied class certification, holding that “employers must provide employees with breaks, but need not ensure employees take breaks.”  Hernandez v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., No. B216004, 2010 WL 3789012 (Cal. Ct. App. 2d Dist. Sept. 30, 2010).  Plaintiff and appellant Rogelio Hernandez (Hernandez) Hernandez filed a class action lawsuit against Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (Chipotle) alleging that Chipotle violated labor laws by denying employees meal and rest breaks. Id. *1. The trial court denied class certification, and plaintiff appealed.  Id. The Court of Appeal affirmed, holding that it would not be “practical” to require “enforcement of meal breaks” since it “would place an undue burden on employers whose employees are numerous or who … do not appear to remain in contact with the employer during the day.”  Id. *7. “It would also create perverse incentives, encouraging employees to violate company meal break policy in order to receive extra compensation under California wage and hour laws.” Id.

Background

Chipotle is a fast food restaurant chain, and all employees are nonexempt, except for the salaried position of “restaurateur.” Id. *1. Chipotle’s written policies require managers to provide employees with meal and rest breaks, and employees are not permitted to self-initiate breaks and are prohibited from skipping breaks. Id. Chipotle directs employees to record their breaks. Read the rest of this entry »

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