In Arenas vs. El Torito Restaurants, a California appellate court ruled on the possibility of a class action lawsuit for the misclassification of all managers at the El Torito restaurants as exempt.
Although the court gave a lengthy analysis about the appropriateness of the class action case, for our purposes, what’s important was that it warned employers that just because managers might be exempt at one store they might not be exempt at another store. It depends on the circumstances.
At some El Torito restaurants, many of the managers also did work performed by the staff or busboys. In other larger, busier restaurants, they did less of this work. Employers should determine whether managers are exempt on a case-by-case basis unless there’s complete uniformity in operations.
The plaintiff’s complaint also lays out the laundry list of exposures employers face by misclassifying managers as exempt; violation of wage and overtime regulations, failure to furnish wage and hour statements, or not providing rest and meal periods.