Meal & Rest Breaks

Rest Periods

Employers routinely fail to provide hourly-paid employees with work-free rest periods during working hours. According to California law, employers must provide hourly-paid employees with one 10 minute paid rest period for every four hours of work. This is because rest periods are considered part of working hours, and are therefore generally compensable.

An employer who fails to provide rest periods must pay the employee one additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate for each day that a rest period was not provided. Such violations can expose even small employers with few employees to massive potential liability. Both Federal and California protect you from retaliation for reporting and/or enforcing your wage and hour rights. Therefore, if you believe that you (and possibly your co-workers) have been denied rest periods, your best recourse is to contact a meal and rest break attorney at Workplace Justice Advocates, a Professional Law Corporation, to see if you can pursue an individual or class action lawsuit against your employer.

Meal Periods

Similar to rest breaks, employers will often require employees to “waive” or work through their lunch break, in violation of the law. California law provides that employees who work more than 5 hours in a day are entitled to a meal period of at least 30 minutes; and a second meal period of at least 30 minutes if they work more than 10 hours in a day. The 30-minute meal period is generally not a part of working hours if the employee is relieved of all duties.

An employer who fails to provide proper off-duty meal periods must pay the employee one additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate for each work day that the meal or rest period was not provided. Employers need not “ensure” that no work is performed during a meal period, so long as the employer relieves the employee of all duty, the employer is not liable for a meal period premium if the employee chooses to work (unless the employee is pressured by the employer to perform work). On the other hand, if the employer knew (or reasonably should have known) the employee was working during the meal period, the employer will be liable for payment of the employee's regular (or overtime) wage for that time worked.

If you believe that you (and possibly your co-workers) have been denied work-free meal breaks in accordance with the law, take action and speak with a meal and rest break attorney at Workplace Justice Advocates, a Professional Law Corporation, to see if you can pursue an individual or class action lawsuit against your employer. Again, the law protects employees and punishes employers if they attempt to intimidate, penalize or retaliate against you for reporting wage and hour violations and/or enforcing your rights. Contact us today to get started on your claim.

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