Class and Collective Actions

The California Supreme Court’s decision in Brinker v. Superior Court unleashed a flood of single-plaintiff and class-action lawsuits involving alleged violations of California’s meal and rest period laws. Under California law, employees are entitled to take at least one 30-minute uninterrupted, off-duty meal break no later than the end of their 5th hour of work. If employees work over 10 hours, they must be provided a second 30-minute meal period. Similarly, employees must also receive 10-minute rest periods for each 4 hour-period worked or major fraction thereof.

Continue Reading Take A Break To Remember Your Meal And Rest Period Obligations Under California Law

We are pleased to report that a California federal judge put to rest claims by a proposed class of Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. workers that they weren’t given adequate meal breaks and rest periods, saying the company was exempted from liability by a valid collective bargaining agreement.

In reconsidering a portion of his November ruling that granted the construction and engineering services provider partial summary judgment over various wage and hour claims brought by lead plaintiff Peter Zayerz under the California Labor Code, Judge Gutierrez acknowledged he had mistakenly failed to consider in his earlier decision whether the company was exempt from liability for the meal and rest period claims by a collective bargaining agreement that was in place between 2012 and 2015, the time period in which Zayerz’s claims arose.

“The court concedes that it failed to consider a material issue of law in its prior order, namely that the governing CBA exempts defendant from liability under the labor code for the meal and rest period claims,” Judge Gutierrez said.

With that, Judge Gutierrez awarded Kiewit summary judgment on all remaining claims and closed the case. Kiewit is represented by our own Arthur J. Rooney, Todd K. Boyer, Benjamin R. Buchwalter, Alexis Hawley and Melissa Logan.

The case is Peter Zayerz v. Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. et al., case number 2:16-cv-06405, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

Find the write-up in Law360 HERE.

Michael Brewer has joined Baker McKenzie as a Partner in its North America Employment & Compensation Practice, bringing more than 17 years of experience in a range of employment litigation and counseling matters.

Based in San Francisco, Michael defends employers facing wage and hour class and collective actions, alleged harassment, discrimination, retaliation, wrongful termination and other employment-related claims. He has litigated more than 500 employment lawsuits to conclusion. Companies frequently call upon Michael to step into difficult cases even when handled by other firms. Michael has served as lead trial counsel on state and federal multi-district class actions as well as single-plaintiff cases throughout California. He has significant trial experience, and routinely counsels clients on the handling of termination and discipline decisions, workplace accommodation issues, litigation avoidance and all aspects of personnel management.

“Employment litigation and counseling is a key area of focus for many of our clients in California and throughout the US,” said George Avraam, Chair of the Firm’s North America Employment & Compensation Practice. “Michael’s extensive trial and appellate experience, covering a range of employment issues, will be a tremendous asset to our clients as they look for pragmatic, business-minded advice.”

Continue Reading Highly Regarded Employment Litigator Michael Brewer Joins Baker McKenzie

In October, we discussed one of the hottest trending class-action claims: the Illinois Biometric Privacy Act (BIPA). In our alert, we noted that it was not clear whether a plaintiff would need to show a concrete injury to be entitled to damages or whether a mere statutory violation would be sufficient to warrant damages.

On November 21, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision on this very issue.

Continue Reading UPDATE Regarding The Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act

Attention employers using biometric identification technology, such as retina scans, fingerprint identification and facial recognition technology:

A number of corporations in Illinois, including internet and video game companies, food product manufacturers, gas stations, and restaurant chains, have been sued in the past few months for alleged BIPA violations.

Here’s what you need to know

Continue Reading How To Avoid Class Action Liability Under Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act