Court Follows Logic of Brinker in Denying Class Certification
Another California court has followed the logic of Brinker, in holding that employers need only provide their employees the opporunity to take a lunch break and need not ensure that such breaks are taken. In Tien v. Tenet Healthcare, class certification was denied in a case alleging claims for failure to provide meal and rest breaks. The court held that individual issues predominated over common issues because the evidence demonstrated there could be numerous individualized reasons why a meal or rest break was not taken on a given day, and the mere fact that time records revealed missed breaks was not enough to establish liability. Even though the Brinker and Brinkley cases are pending review by the California Supreme Court on the issue of what it means to "provide" a meal period, the Court of Appeal held that the trial court was permitted to follow the logic and reasoning of these cases in determining the propriety of class certification.
The Tien case is another in the line of recent cases showing a trend of courts in following the logic of Brinker/Brinkley. In the meantime, California employers continue to await the California Supreme Court's definitive ruling on the issue.