California Labor &
Employment Law Blog
May 11, 2011

Another California Court Says Meal Breaks Must Be Provided, Not Ensured

Topics: Class Actions, Court Decisions, Wage & Hour Issues

As California employers continue to await the California Supreme Court's decision in Brinker regarding the extent of an employer's obligation to "provide" mealbreaks to employees, another court has decided the issue favorably for employers. In Flores v. Lamps Plus, Inc., a California court of appeal held that class certification was properly denied in a case alleging meal and rest break violations on behalf of a putative class of some 2,600 employees across the state. Citing to numerous federal cases, the court held that California law does not require employers to ensure meal breaks are taken, but rather requires employers to provide employees the opportunity to take them. Based on this standard, the court held that individual issues predominated as to why any particular employee may have missed meal and/or rest breaks. As such, class treatment was inappropriate. The court similarly held that class treatment was inappropriate for the plaintiffs' other claims, including failure to provide accurate wage statements, off the clock work, and failure to timely pay wages on termination of employment.

The court also held that a stay of the proceedings (including ruling on class certification) was properly denied, nothwithstanding the pendency of the Brinker decision before the California Supreme Court. The Lamps Plus case is another positive case for employers as we continue to await a definitive determination on meal break requirements from the state's high court.

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For over 25 years, CDF has distinguished itself as one of the top employment, labor and immigration firms in California, representing employers in single-plaintiff and class action lawsuits and advising employers on related legal compliance and risk avoidance. We cover the state, with five locations from Sacramento to San Diego.

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About the Editor

Robin Largent has a regular presence in California state and federal courts and has been lead defense counsel and appellate counsel for large and small California employers in litigation (and arbitration) ranging from individual discrimination and harassment claims to complex wage and hour representative and class actions. She also leads the firm’s appellate practice, having substantial experience and success handling appeals, writ petitions, and amicus briefs in both state and federal court on issues such as class certification (particularly in the wage and hour arena), manageability and due process concerns associated with class action trials, exempt/non-exempt misclassification issues, meal and rest break compliance, trade secret/unfair competition matters, and the scope of federal court jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act.
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