The number of FLSA lawsuits filed each year continues to rise. See The Wage & Hour Litigation Epidemic Continues, at Seyfarth Shaw’s Wage & Hour Litigation Blog. Often, the lawsuits follow certain trends, targeting a particular industry, job type, or claim. One such trend, which I’ve written about previously, is meal-break claims. In these suits, the plaintiffs allege that their pay was automatically deducted for meal breaks that they never received.
Although this has been a popular claim, it’s not been a very successful one. And a recent case from the Eastern District of New York gives employers real reason to believe that meal-break claims are all but dead upon arrival.
In DeSilva v. North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, Inc., the court decertified a collective action of 1,196 plaintiffs who had alleged that they were subject to automatic deduction of meal breaks that they didn’t receive. In its opinion, the court makes clear that such claims will have a difficult time proceeding as a collective action: