Recent Engagements – Employment & Labor

Wage & Hour Class Action

Our Employment & Labor Practice Group has spent much of the last two years handling numerous large class action lawsuits in which current and former employees have sued employers based on their failure to comply with California’s very technical legal requirements concerning meal and rest breaks.  These requirements are a very common trap for the unwary employer, even when making good faith attempts at compliance.  The damages claimed at the outset of these cases are often overwhelming for the employer and it is not unusual for initial damages analysis to reveal potential liability in the millions of dollars.  Employers may also be liable for the employees’ attorneys’ fees in these cases.  Not uncommonly, the attorneys’ fees are equal to, or sometimes even greater than, the amount of damages claimed by class members.

One of the common issues in these cases is the inadvertent failure of the employer to have the precise technical language now required by California law incorporated into its meal and rest break policies and employee handbook.  In light of this current wave of class actions focused on these issues, it makes good business sense for all clients to have their meal and rest break policies, as well as their employee handbook, reviewed by employment law counsel without delay.