Security Guards Win Class Cert for Meal and Rest Break Claims
Interesting class certification decision involving security guards and on duty meal periods from the Central District of California last week. Judge Josephine Staton certified meal and rest period claims involving a class of 15,000 security guards who were required to sign on-duty meal period agreements and then work through their meal periods. The district court’s finding that the variations in the security guard’s job responsibilities and work sites were not sufficient to preclude a finding of predominance flowed naturally from the Ninth Circuit’s decision last year in Abdullah v. U.S. Security Associates, 731 F.3d 952 (9th Cir. 2013). What makes the court’s decision interesting is the weight the Court gave to the defendant’s stated “no sleeping or dozing” break policy, despite evidence that the policy was not always followed in practice. As the district court explained, “plaintiffs’ theory of the case is that the policy itself is invalid not that it is in fact administered or enforced classwide.” In other words, the fact that not all class members were similarly injured (or impacted at all) by the unlawful policy is no bar to class certification. Apparently, Comcast does not spell the end of wage and hour class actions after all.