California Court of Appeal Confirms Importance of Examining Both Plaintiff’s Theory of Recovery and the Evidence Necessary to Establish Meal Period Violations at the Class Certification Stage
By Zach P. Hutton, & Jennifer Milazzo
In Salazar v. See’s Candy Shops, Inc., a California appellate court affirmed the trial court’s denial of class certification in a proposed statewide class action alleging that See’s Candy Shops failed to provide legally required meal periods. The case has implications for both employees seeking and employers trying to defeat class certification of meal break claims. The decision emphasizes that in determining whether class certification is appropriate, a court must critically examine the evidence to decide whether the plaintiff’s theory of recovery would resolve the claims without necessitating individualized inquiries. For employers, the case also makes clear that statistical analyses of employee time records can defeat class certification of meal break claims.
This article originally appeared in Bender's California Labor & Employment Bulletin, August 2021.