Cecilia Arce worked as a certified nursing assistant at a skilled nursing facility. After her employer terminated her, she brought claims under the Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) that she worked through meal and rest periods and was not paid premiums she was owed for meal and rest breaks after her termination. The employer moved for summary judgment, arguing that Arce did not suffer any violation during the limitations period. The trial court granted summary judgment to the employer, but on the basis that Arce did not offer any “competent proof” that a Labor Code violation related to meal or rest break violations occurred during her employment. The Court of Appeal reversed the judgment. Arce provided evidence that her employer’s understaffing and workload policies made it effectively impossible for her to take the required breaks. According to the Court, the employer did not furnish evidence that negated Arce’s allegations that its actual practices conflicted with its written break policies, and thus did not meet the initial burden of production. It was not enough that the employer’s policies and handbooks all required Arce to take meal and rest breaks if the employer pressured its employees not to take breaks. The summary judgment against Arce was reversed and remanded to the trial court.
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