By Thomas Kaufman; (follow me on Twitter)

A First Appellate District decision from May 31, 2012, Sotelo v. Medianews Group, Inc.; was published yesterday.  The opinion contains an in-depth discussion on class action concepts arising out of a case alleging misclassification of newspaper carriers as independent contractors.  The opinion cuts back on some pro-certification precedents, sets forth some anti-certification law for independent contractor cases, and contains some interesting observations about class certification in general.Continue Reading Sotelo Decision is Packed With Class Action Goodness

On May 10, 2011, the Second Appellate District of California issued a favorable decision for employers in Flores v. Lamps Plus, Inc. This case serves as additional support that so long as California employers provide meal and rest breaks to employees, they have met their obligations as set forth in California Labor Code §§ 226.7 and 512 and the IWC Wage Orders.Continue Reading No Brinker Decision Yet But Another Favorable Meal And Rest Break Decision For Employers

In a decision recently certified for publication, Hernandez v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., (October 28, 2010) __ Cal.App.4th __, 2010 WL 4244583, the Second Appellate District of the California Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s order granting Chipotle’s motion to deny class certification and denying the Plaintiff’s motion for class certification. Chipotle is represented by Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton in the litigation.Continue Reading California Court of Appeal Affirms Denial Of Class Certification In Important Decision Holding That Employers Must Only Provide Rest and Meal Periods and Need Not Ensure That They Are Taken

In Brewer v. Premier Golf Properties, the California Court of Appeal reversed a jury verdict which awarded $195,000 in punitive damages to a former employee who sued for various violations of the Labor Code.Continue Reading California Court Holds Punitive Damages Not Available For Unpaid Minimum Wages, Inaccurate Pay Stubs, And Meal And Rest Period Violation Claims

On October 28, 2008, only six days after the California Supreme Court’s decision to review Brinker Restaurant v. Superior Court of San Diego, a different California Court of Appeal reached the same conclusions about an employer’s obligation to provide meal and rest periods.  In Brinkley v. Public Storage, Inc., a class of plaintiffs sued their employer alleging, among other things, that the company had failed to provide adequate meal and rest periods.Continue Reading Another Court Of Appeal Holds That To “Provide” Meal And Rest Periods Means “Make Available”

On October 22, 2008, the California Supreme Court agreed to review the closely followed case of Brinker Restaurant v. Superior Court of San Diego.  Brinker addressed compliance issues under California law relating to meal periods, rest periods, and off-the-clock work, as well as procedural issues raised in class action lawsuits based on these type of claims.Continue Reading California Supreme Court Agrees To Review Brinker Decision

In what is a major victory for California employers, the California Court of Appeal held yesterday in Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court (Hohnbaum) that employers are not obligated to ensure that employees actually take meal and rest breaks, and that companies therefore cannot be held liable for alleged meal and rest break violations unless employees are "forced to forgo" these breaks.Continue Reading Appellate Court Clarifies Meal and Rest Period Obligations

In a decision of great interest to California employers, the California Supreme Court yesterday agreed to settle the dispute among California’s Courts of Appeal regarding whether the “payment” of one hour’s pay at the employee’s usual rate for a missed meal and/or break period mandated by California Labor Code §226.7 is a “wage” subject to a three- or four- year statute of limitations or a “penalty” subject to a shorter one-year statute of limitations.
Continue Reading California Supreme Court Agrees to Decide Meal and Rest Period Issue

In December of 2004, the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (“DLSE”) proposed significant regulations regarding the state meal period requirements. The regulations were designed to interpret the rules contained in the Labor Code and to provide guidance to employees and employers. They were also designed to offer employees greater flexibility with respect to meal periods. Following public comment and hearings, the DLSE revised its proposed regulations several times.
Continue Reading Update On Meal Period Regulations

On Thursday, a California jury awarded $172 million to 116,000 current and former employees of Wal-Mart based on violations of California’s meal period rules. The verdict included $57 million in general damages and $115 million in punitive damages. Although the award may be vulnerable and is likely to be appealed, it will undoubtedly lead to even more wage-hour litigation and challenges. All California employers should understand the message the verdict is intended to send.