A California court has reportedly denied a motion to certify a class of Hard Rock Café employees who allege that the restaurant chain wrongly classified them as exempt employees and then forced them to assume the tasks of non-exempt employees without paying them overtime or allowing them to take meal periods and rest breaks, and otherwise provided inaccurate wage statements. In re Hard Rock Café Wage & Hour Cases, No. JCCP 4549 (Cal. Super. Ct., Orange Cty., decided October 3, 2012). According to the restaurant chain’s counsel, the court determined that the putative class of kitchen managers lacked numerosity, the identity and number of class members could not be ascertained, and the named representative could not adequately represent the class.

The court also apparently found that individual analysis of each employee’s
work activities would be required to decide whether they had been properly
classified as exempt. Counsel for named plaintiff Anton Barich reportedly
indicated that he was considering his options “including appeal of the denial
of the motion.” Counsel also contended that the plaintiffs had introduced
“significant evidence” that the defendants implemented a uniform labor-budget
policy among all of its restaurants resulting in hourly labor shortages
that required assistant managers to prepare food, wash dishes and wait tables
to keep up with the workload. See Law360, October 5, 2012.

About The Author

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.

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