California Work Breaks Lawsuits
Last Updated on March 1, 2021
At A Glance
- This Alert Affects:
- California workers who weren't given proper meal and rest breaks.
- What's Going On?
- A number of companies in California have been sued for breaking California work break laws.
- What Breaks Should I Receive?
- You should receive a 30-minute meal break after working five hours and then again after working ten hours. If you aren't given a meal break, your employer owes you one hour of pay per workday. You're also entitled to a paid 10-minute rest break for every four hours worked.
- What You Can Do:
- If you suspect your employer is breaking the law when it comes to meal and rest breaks, get in touch with us today by filling out the form on this page. You may be able to file a claim for back wages.
- Can I Get Fired?
- Both California and federal law make it illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who exercise their legal rights.
A number of companies in California have been sued for failing to follow work break laws.
The lawsuits have accused employers of failing to properly pay employees who worked through their meal periods and failing to provide breaks altogether.
California Work Break Laws – What Are My Rights?
Lunch and Meal Breaks
If you work five hours in a work day, you must be provided with a 30-minute meal break. You have the right to mutually agree with your employer to waive this break if your shift does not extend past six hours.
If you work ten hours in a day, you are entitled to a second 30-minute meal break. Likewise, you can choose to waive this rest break so long as you are not working more than a 12-hour shift and you took your first meal break.
When Should a Meal Break Be Paid?
If you’re not relinquished of all job duties during your break, you should be getting paid for the time. Furthermore, if your employer is not providing you with the required meal breaks, you must be paid for one hour of work at your regular rate of pay (known as your meal period premium pay) for each workday that you’re not given a meal break.
Unfortunately, some companies have been accused of failing to properly calculate this premium by neglecting to take into account incentive pay, bonuses and other forms of compensation when calculating an employee’s regular rate of pay. As a result, workers are allegedly getting cheated out of proper pay.
10-Minute Break Laws
In California, you’re entitled to a ten-minute rest break for every four hours worked. These work breaks must be paid and should be provided toward the middle of your shift. You cannot be required to work during your 10-minute break, but you can skip the break so long as your employer isn’t forcing you to do so.
What You Can Do
If you suspect your employer’s work break policy isn’t complying with California law, we want to hear about it. Simply fill out the form on this page and one of the attorneys we work with may reach out to you to explain your rights. If your employer isn’t providing you with breaks – or payment in their absence – you may be able to make a claim to collect back wages. It doesn’t cost anything to talk to an attorney and the law protects you against retaliation from your employer.
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