Legal Alert: Not Brinker, But A California Appellate Court Solves the Riddle - Employers Need Only "Provide" Meal Periods Not "Ensure" They Are Taken


For more than two years, we have been waiting for the California Supreme Court to answer the meal-period question that has clogged our court system with innumerable lawsuits. Must management simply "provide" the opportunity for meal periods or must they affirmatively "ensure" that those meal periods are taken? Well, our local appellate district is tired of waiting. Within the past week, our Court published its own opinion in Hernandez v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., 2010 Cal. App. LEXIS 1853 (2010), ruling in favor of management.

In the case, plaintiff Rogelio Hernandez ("Hernandez") was an hourly worker for the restaurant chain, Chipotle Mexican Grill ("Chipotle"). After his termination, Hernandez filed a lawsuit against the company alleging meal and rest period violations. Filed as a class action, Hernandez attempted to pursue his claims on behalf of more than 3,000 current employees and hundreds of former employees.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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