Six cases that had been in grant and hold status with the California Supreme Court pending the decision in Brinker v. Superior Court were all transferred back to their respective Courts of Appeal today. The six cases are: Brinkley v. Public Storage, Faulkinbury v. Boyd & Associates, Brookler v. Radio Shack Corp., Tien v. Tenet Healthcare, Flores v. Lamps Plus, and Hernandez v. Chipotle. In all six cases, the Courts were instructed to vacate their prior decisions and reconsider the actions in light of the Brinker decision.
Of these six cases, only Brookler found that a meal period class was appropriate, citing to the case of Cicairos v. Summit Logistics for the proposition that employers have an affirmative duty to ensure the employee is relieved of all duty during a meal period. In contrast, the other cases all found that meal period classes were inappropriate, generally holding that an employer’s duty was only to provide meal periods to employees, not ensure that they were taken. However, in Faulkinbury, the Court denied class certification to the meal period class because there was a lack of common issues due to the many site-specific circumstances affecting the employees’ ability to take their meal periods.
While the appellate courts are obligated to follow the state supreme court's holding, the real impact of the Brinker decision will now be felt as the Courts apply that holding to the specific issues before them. We will provide updates on these cases as they become available.