California Meal and Rest Break Attorneys
Employers are not allowed to require employees to work long days without the opportunity to take a break. The California Labor Code provides the right to both rest breaks and meal breaks for employees, and employers who violate the law can be held accountable and might be liable for damages to affected employees.
If you think that your employer denied you the rest and/or meal breaks that you deserve, you should discuss the matter with our California meal and rest break lawyers at Setareh Law Group as soon as possible.
Rules for Rest and Meal Breaks in California
The basic rule for breaks is that an employee is entitled to a rest break of 10 minutes or longer for every four hours worked. Employees are also entitled to a 30-minute or longer meal break for every five hours worked. Rest breaks must be paid time, while employers are not required to compensate employees for meal breaks.
During the break time, an employer may not interrupt the rest or meal break or expect the employee to engage in any type of work-related tasks. For example, an employer may not require an employee to eat lunch at their desk so they can be “on-call” for any phone calls or emails that need to be answered. The employer may not exert control over how an employee chooses to spend their meal breaks, and employees should be allowed to leave the worksite when practicable.
Employees do not have to take all the breaks provided. If they skip an unpaid meal break, they might either get paid for an additional 30 minutes of work or leave work 30 minutes earlier. However, employers may never encourage employees to skip breaks, threaten retaliation if an employee takes a qualified break, or reward employees who work through their breaks.
Some employers require employees to take breaks to ensure compliance with the law and prevent any legal concerns. Some companies force a “clock-out” of employees at certain times for breaks and, in this situation, managers should never put pressure on employees to keep working despite being clocked out. This can result in unpaid wages for off-the-clock work completed.
Actions for Inadequate Breaks
California law provides for specific remedies for employees who are denied their rightful break time. With the appropriate legal action, employees might be able to recover the following:
- One hour of wages for each day they were denied rest breaks
- An additional hour of wages for each day they were denied a meal break
- Two full days’ worth of wages for every day an employer denied both rest and meal breaks
If your employer never provides either type of break, you can seek two days of wages for every workday for the past three years.
Contact Our California Meal and Rest Break Attorneys for Assistance
The Setareh Law Group seeks financial recovery for clients who are denied proper break time. Call (877) 777-3774 or contact us online to discuss your legal rights and options today.