California Federal Court Relies on Comcast to Deny Class Certification of Off-The-Clock and Meal Period Claims
By Bill Allen
Relying on the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Comcast Corp. v. Behrend, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California denied Rule 23 class certification of California state law claims for off-the-clock work and unpaid work time during meal periods in Forrand v. Federal Express Corp.*
First, the plaintiff alleged that she and other hourly employees were not paid for work performed during the time between their clock-in times and their scheduled start times. The district court had previously denied class certification on this claim, but in 2010 the Ninth Circuit reversed and remanded that decision to “determine whether the level of FedEx’s control over employees within the proposed general class when they are on-the-clock but off-shift” was sufficient to render that time compensable under California law. On remand, the district court noted that Comcast requires a plaintiff “to bring forth a measurement method that can be applied classwide and that ties the plaintiff’s legal theory to the impact of the defendant’s illegal conduct.” The court found that the plaintiff’s proposed damages methodology, which assumed the entire gap between clock-in and the start of paid time was compensable, could be applied classwide, but failed “to tie California law to liability and a reliable measure of damages.” The court found that the plaintiff’s proposed class claim raised factual questions regarding whether each individual employee was in fact working and/or under the employer’s control during the gap period, and therefore individual factual inquiries predominated over classwide inquiries.Continue Reading...