Brinkley v. Public Storage – Another Meal Break Case Following the Footsteps of Brinker

The court in Brinkley v. Public Storage, Inc. decided by the Second Appellate District on October 28, 2008, agreed with the holding of the appellate court in Brinker v. Superior Court that employers only have to provide meal breaks and not ensure that they are taken.

Brinkley also addresses another hotly litigated wage and hour issue regarding the need to prove intent and injury from a paystub violation. More specifically, the plaintiff in Brinkley alleged that defendant violated California Labor Code section 226, subdivision (a), which requires employers to provide pay stubs that list (among other items): “(1) gross wages earned, (2) total hours worked by the employee . . . and (9) all applicable hourly rates in effect during the pay period and the corresponding number of hours worked at each hourly rate by the employee.”

The Court rejected plaintiff’s arguments and affirmed the trial court’s finding that the defendant demonstrated that the wage statement errors were inadvertent and corrected when discovered and that the employer did not knowingly and intentionally violate section 226, subdivision (a). The Court also rejected Plaintiff’s arguement that the receipt of an inaccurate paystub ipso facto constitutes injury within the meaning of section 226, subdivision (e), holding that section 226 requires a plaintiff to actually suffer injury to recover damages or statutory penalties.

We expect the Supreme Court to issue a “grant and hold” review order, deeming this a related case to Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court, so stay tuned … this order is likely to come down by the end of January 2009.

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