Employment Law Blog

Filter:  Class Actions

Instacart Wage-and-Hour Settlement

ATTORNEY ADVERTISEMENT Our firm filed a representative action on behalf of Aggrieved Employees and the State of California against Instacart in Santa Clara County in 2018: Ornelas v. Maplebear, Inc. (d/b/a lnstacart), case no. 18CV323046. Based on our client’s experiences, we alleged that lnstacart’s timekeeping app deleted employees’ hours worked on cancelled jobs and failed […]

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Wage and Hour Class Action Mediation Brief

Section 510 of the Labor Code and the applicable IWC Wage Order require employers to pay overtime for hours worked beyond eight in a day and forty in a week (and double-time as provided in the statute and Wage Order).

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Class Action Settlements in California

The well-recognized factors that a trial court should consider in evaluating the reasonableness of the value of a class action settlement agreement include, but are not limited to:
[T]he strength of plaintiffs’ case, the risk, expense, complexity and likely duration of further litigation, the risk of maintaining class action status through trial, the amount offered in settlement, the extent of discovery completed and stage of proceedings, the experience and views of counsel, the presence of a governmental participant, and the reaction of the class members to the proposed settlement.
Dunk v. Ford Motor Co. (1996) 48 Cal.App.4th 1794, 1801.

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Break Laws and Class Action Procedure

Labor Code §§ 226.7 and 512 and the applicable wage orders require employers to authorize and permit meal periods to their employees. California law prohibits employers from employing an employee for more than five hours without a meal period of at least 30 minutes.

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Misleading Communications in Class Action Lawsuits

Misleading communications “pose a serious threat to the fairness of the litigation process, the adequacy of representation, and the administration of justice generally.” Cheverez, supra, at *4-6; Howard Gunty, supra, 88 Cal.App4th at 582. The “responsibility to monitor communications is heightened where potential class members are unrepresented by their own counsel.” Cheverez at *6. Courts have found that this responsibility is also heightened when an employer engages in unsupervised communications with its workers regarding a settlement offer. See Marino v. CACafe, Inc. (N.D.Cal. April 28, 2017) 2017 WL 1540717 (“in the context of class action litigation, whether pre- or post-certification, unsupervised communications between an employer and its workers present an acute risk of coercion and abuse.”)

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California Law: Class Action Suits & Missed Meal/Rest/Break Periods

Labor Code §§ 226.7 and 512 and the applicable wage orders require an employer to authorize and permit meal and rest periods to their employees. California law prohibits employers from employing an employee for more than five hours without a meal period of at least 30 minutes. “[A]n employer’s obligation is to provide an off-duty meal period: an uninterrupted 30–minute period during which the employee is relieved of all duty.” Brinker Rest. Corp. v. Super. Ct., 53 Cal. 4th 1004, 1035 (2012). “An employer must relieve the employee of all duty for the designated period.” Id. at 1034. An employer cannot “impede or discourage [employees] from [taking off-duty rest periods].” Id. at 1040. Section 226.7 and applicable wage orders also require employers to authorize and permit employees to take 10-minute rest periods for each four hours or major fraction thereof of work, and to pay employees their full wages during their rest periods. “[A]s a general matter,” one rest break should fall on either side of the meal break.” Id. at 1032. Unless the employee is relieved of all duty during the 30-minute meal period and 10-minute rest period, the employee is considered “on duty” and the meal or rest period is counted as time worked under the applicable wage orders. Augustus v. ABM Security Services, Inc. (2016) 2 Cal.5th 257, 264.

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Mandatory Meal and Rest Periods

Labor Code §§ 226.7 and 512 and the applicable wage orders requires an employer to authorize and permit meal and rest periods to its employees. California law prohibits employers from employing an employee for more than five hours without a meal period of at least 30 minutes, and from employing an employee more than ten hours per day without providing the employee with a second meal period of not less than 30 minutes. “[A]n employer’s obligation is to provide an off duty meal period: an uninterrupted 30–minute period during which the employee is relieved of all duty.” Brinker Rest. Corp. v. Super. Ct., 53 Cal. 4th 1004, 1035 (2012). “An employer must relieve the employee of all duty for the designated period.” Id. at 1034. An employer cannot “impede or discourage [employees] from [taking breaks].” Id. at 1040. Section 226.7 and applicable wage orders also require employers to authorize and permit employees to take 10-minute rest periods for each four hours or major fraction thereof of work, and to pay employees their full wages during their rest periods. “[A]s a general matter, one rest break should fall on either side of the meal break.” Id. at 1032. Unless the employee is relieved of all duty during the 30-minute meal period and 10-minute rest period, the employee is considered “on duty” and the meal or rest period is counted as time worked under the applicable wage orders. When an employer fails to provide a rest or meal period in accordance with the applicable wage orders, the employer must pay the employee one additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of pay for each workday that a required rest period is not provided, and one additional hour of pay for each work day that a compliant meal period is not provided. Labor Code § 226.7.

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Penalties in California Wage & Hour Suits

California Labor Code § 510 requires employers to pay overtime compensation for hours worked over eight hours per day and 40 hours per week. An employer may avoid paying overtime for hours worked over eight per day by adopting a valid Alternative Workweek Schedule (“AWS”). The procedures for adopting a valid AWS are set forth in Labor Code § 511 and the relevant Industrial Welfare Commission (“IWC”) Wage Order No. 16 (California Code of Regulations, title 8, § 11160, subd. 3(B), 3(C)). Among other things, the law requires an employer to hold a secret ballot election regarding the AWS amongst its employees and to file the results of the election with the State. Prior to the election, the employer must issue a written notification to the affected employees, explaining the election process and the effects of the AWS on the employees’ work schedule and compensation.

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