A California court of appeals has denied the request of a former Chipotle employee to certify a class of current and former non-managerial employees alleging that the company violated labor laws by denying them meal and rest breaks. Hernandez v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., No. B216004 (Cal. Ct. App., 2d Dist., modified opinion filed October 28, 2010). The court agreed with the defendant that California law requires that employers provide, but not ensure, that employees take breaks.

The court also found no error in the trial court’s denial of class certification
because the court record showed that “Chipotle did not have a universal
practice with regard to breaks.” Apparently, while the company paid for meal
and rest breaks, some employees declared that they always missed meal
breaks, some missed meal breaks but not rest breaks, some were not denied
meal breaks, and others declared their breaks were delayed or interrupted
with varying degrees of frequency. The record also provided substantial
evidence of an antagonism so substantial among class members “as to defeat
the purpose of class certification.”

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.