On August 30, 2012 in Hernandez v. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (California Courts of Appeal – 2nd District, No. B216004), the court held that where an individual inquiry would be required to establish whether an employer failed to provide meal or rest breaks, class certification is properly denied.
In Hernandez, an employee of the defendant, Chipotle Mexican Grill, worked as a non-managerial hourly employee. Chipotle required its managers to provide meals and rest breaks to employees and record when those breaks were taken. The employee filed a class action against Chipotle, citing that Chipotle had wrongly denied non-managerial employees meal and rest breaks. Chipotle made a motion to deny class certification, citing that since there are no financial incentives to accurately record paid breaks that the records would be inaccurate since sometimes breaks are not recorded even though they are taken. The employee conceded that breaks were provided. The trial court denied class certification citing that individual issues predominated over common issues.
The California Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's decision. The court noted that California law requires employers to provide breaks but not ensure that employees do in fact take the meal and rest breaks. The court felt that an inquiry into whether each employee had taken their breaks would make class-wide adjudication unmanageable.
If you need information regarding class actions, wage and hour claims, or hostile work environment, please do not hesitate to contact a Southern California Employment attorney today.
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