Supreme Court Finally Renders its Brinker Ruling: Sizzle or Fizzle?


Photo by zoetnet, flickr creative commons

On April 12, 2012, The California Supreme Court finally rendered its long awaited ruling in the Hohnbaum v. Brinker case.  The opinion sought to clarify key issues concerning meal periods and rest breaks for hourly wage workers, and the extent to which lawsuits alleging violations were amenable to class action certification.  However, such clarity may still be lacking because in a way, the Court seemed to rule both ways.  On the key issue of whether meal periods are mandatory or optional, the Court ruled that they are mandatory, but that it was optional for an employee to work during a meal period. Continue reading

DLSE Wage Compliance Audits

My office has seen an increase in Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE – a div. of the Labor Com.) audits as well as private lawsuits for wage and hour violations.  There are still a surprisingly high number of established businesses who are dangerously vulnerable to wage and hour claims.  The problem with these claims is that they are extremely amenable to class action claims.  In other words, if the business is out of compliance with one employee, it is probably out of compliance with all its employees.  Thus, their attorney either makes claims on behalf all the employees or threatens a class claim in order to get a higher settlement. Continue reading