California employment law protects employees in the matter of meal and rest breaks. If you are a non-exempt employee, your employer is required to abide by this law. Employees who are “exempt” from this law include those classified as executives, managers, sales personnel, and other administrative staff who are generally paid on a salaried or commission basis. All other employees are generally classified as non-exempt, meaning that their employment falls under these California laws.
At Kingsley & Kingsley Lawyers, we are here to protect your rights under all California and federal employment laws. If you believe your employer has denied you the meal and rest breaks to which you are entitled, you may want to seek legal advice and assistance in remedying this situation. Our firm has 40 years of experience concentrated solely on righting the wrongs suffered by employees in the workplace. We have proven results in resolving employment law violations for thousands of individuals who have sought our competent and dedicated legal representation.
Meal & Rest Breaks Under California Law
California law regarding meal breaks is explained by the California Department of Industrial Relations. Under California law, as an employee, you are entitled to a 30-minute break when you work more than five hours. This meal break is unpaid. During your break, you are not to be engaged in any work duties and you are also allowed to leave the workplace premises. These meal breaks should occur within the first five hours of your workday. You are given the right to waive it if you wish to but only when your shift does not exceed six hours. In shifts that exceed 10 hours, you must be provided with a second meal break. It is the responsibility of your employer to ensure that your meal breaks occur during these five-hour increments.
Should you be denied meal breaks according to the law, you are entitled to be reimbursed for every meal break missed along with an additional hour of pay at your regular pay rate. Each time you are denied a meal break will count as a separate violation of this law. Also, if you are expected to clock out for your meal break but must continue working, you may wind up having worked more than 40 hours in the week. This would qualify you for overtime pay at time and a half plus the additional payments to which you are entitled to for having missed your meal break.
The California Department of Industrial Relations also provides an explanation of how rest periods are covered under our state's labor laws. As an employee, you are entitled to a 10-minute rest break for every four hours that you work. Unlike meal breaks, your rest period is a paid break. The state would like this rest break to be taken in the middle of the four hours as much as practicable. Those who work an eight-hour shift are thus entitled to two 10-minute rest periods during their workday. If you are denied your required rest periods, the penalty to your employer is reimbursement of one hour of pay for every day that the denial occurs.
Under the law, you are not required to take a rest period if you choose not to. Your employer's obligation is only that these breaks be provided; otherwise, the employer has no responsibility to enforce them. Because of this, it can be difficult to prove in court that you were denied a rest period. However, employers should make it clear that rest periods are allowable and available according to the law.
Turn to Our Reliable Los Angeles Meal & Rest Break Lawyers
If you believe you have been denied meal and/or rest breaks, you should seek the help of our established and reputable firm for help. Our team has substantial experience in state and federal labor laws and has a proven track record as litigators in court. We have handled countless cases of employer employment law violations including class action lawsuits. We can provide the highly-qualified and dedicated representation you need to fight back and potentially gain the compensation you may be owed under the law.