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Otsuka v. Polo Ralph Lauren Corp.

251 F.R.D. 439 (2008)

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Otsuka v. Polo Ralph Lauren Corp.

United States District Court for the Northern District of California

251 F.R.D. 439 (2008)

Facts

Retail sales associates and cashiers (the employees) (plaintiffs) worked for Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. (Polo) (defendant) in the State of California. Polo used a single employee handbook, standardized policies, and standardized practices for all of its retail and outlet stores in California. One allegedly standardized practice was for Polo managers to deter sales associates and cashiers from taking the rest breaks required by state law. Another allegedly standardized practice was for Polo managers to force sales associates and cashiers to wait 10 to 15 minutes or longer after clocking out for a manager to inspect their bags at the back door. A third allegedly standardized practice was for Polo managers to treat all sales associates and cashiers as exempt from overtime compensation, even if the employees did not sell enough merchandise to be considered commissioned salespeople. The employees filed a putative class action against Polo on behalf of all former California sales associates and cashiers for unpaid wages due to Polo’s failure to provide rest breaks, failure to pay employees for time spent inside the stores, and failure to classify sales associates as noncommissioned salespeople eligible for overtime compensation. The employees moved to certify a proposed class of 5,300 former sales associates and cashiers who worked for Polo in California during the class representatives’ employment periods. Polo argued that the employees failed to meet the procedural requirements for class certification under the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 (Rule 23).

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Illston, J.)

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