Ehret v. WinCo Foods, LLCAnnotate this Case
Employees of WinCo Foods, LLC and/or WinCo Holdings, Inc. (collectively WinCo) were undisputedly subject to a collective bargaining agreement which purported to provide that an employee who worked a shift of less than six hours was not entitled to a meal break. The Employees filed this action claiming, among other things, that WinCo was violating Labor Code section 512(a), which provided that an employee who worked more than five hours was entitled to a meal break, “except that if the total work period per day of the employee is no more than six hours, the meal period may be waived by mutual consent of both the employer and employee.” The trial court ruled that the collective bargaining agreement waived the Employees’ statutory right to a meal break whenever they worked more than five but not more than six hours. The Employees appealed, arguing the trial court erred because the waiver in the collective bargaining agreement was not “clear and unmistakable,” as required by federal law. The Court of Appeal held the waiver was clear and unmistakable, because it specifically mentioned meal breaks and it was irreconcilable with the statutory right to a meal break during a shift of more than five but not more than six hours.