Sunday, September 24, 2023
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Court Tosses Wage Class|Action Against Chipotle

(CN) - Chipotle Mexican Restaurant does not have to ensure that its 3,000 employees take meal and rest breaks, a California appeals court ruled, rejecting a class action against the restaurant chain.

Rogelio Hernandez works at one of the 130 Chipotle restaurants in California. He filed a class action accusing Chipotle of violating labor laws by denying meal and rest breaks to their employees.

The restaurant fought back by submitting declarations from 57 employees who said they got all of their meal and rest breaks. A Chipotle human resources manager said that because employees are paid for their breaks, they sometimes forget to clock in and out.

Hernandez countered with declarations from 23 employees that Chipotle managers denied or interrupted their breaks.

The trial court ruled that a class action would be inappropriate if the California Supreme Court was likely to rule that managers must ensure that employees take their break. The lower court also ruled that while managers had to provide breaks, they were not obligated to ensure that employees took those breaks.

The Los Angeles-based Second District Court of Appeal agreed that the case could not move forward as a class action.

"In order to prove Chipotle violated break laws, Hernandez would have to prove an analysis restaurant-by-restaurant, and perhaps supervisor-by-supervisor, Justice Evelyn Grimes wrote. "Given the variances in the declararions, Hernandez did not demonstrate a common practice or policy."

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