- Red Robin said it will pay $8.5 million to about 16,790 California workers who claim the restaurant failed to properly provide meal and rest breaks, among other violations (Manuel Vigueras, et al. v. Red Robin International Inc. 8:17-cv-01422 (C.D. Cal. June 19, 2020)).
- The restaurant maintained a "Just Say Yes" policy regarding breaks, a policy that "demonstrates Red Robin's proactive commitment to providing team members with breaks anytime they want one and instructing managers to 'just say yes, no matter the circumstances,'" Red Robin argued.
- The plaintiffs argued the policy violated California labor law because it allowed Red Robin to forgo providing meal and rest breaks "absent request."
California wage and hour law, invoked in this case, generally treats workers more generously than its federal counterpart.
While the federal Fair Labor Standards Act does not require employers to provide paid rest breaks (though it does require employers to pay short rest breaks they offer), California law compels employers to provide workers a 10-minute break for every four hours worked. The law specifies that breaks should be given during the middle of the work period.
Ikea recently agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle a class action lawsuit that alleged the store violated California law by failing to provide proper rest breaks. The plaintiffs alleged that Ikea required employees "to stay on the premises during paid rest breaks" and to take breaks "in either the Staff Café or other designated non-work areas," despite the state's Supreme Court having ruled that employers must "relinquish control over how employees spend their time" during rest periods, the court said in the order.