Meal and Rest Breaks Attrorney
Irvine, CA Employment Law Firm
California (and federal) law clearly provides meal and rest breaks for all non-exempt employees. Nevertheless, many employers continue to deny their workers this basic right. If you believe that your right to meal and rest breaks has been violated by your current or former employer, the experienced employment law attorneys at the Spencer Law Firm can evaluate your situation and advise you about your legal options. Our Orange County lawyer represents clients in San Clemente California on employment matters of all kinds. If your case is typical of similar problems experienced by your co-workers, we will also consider the possibility of a class action lawsuit. You may qualify for additional compensation for being the initiator of a class action.
California Meal And Rest Breaks Law
An employee’s right to break periods is governed by both federal law (the Fair Labor Standards Act), and California law. However, in general, California law is more favorable to employees than federal law and California employers must comply with whichever standard provides the most protection to employees. Specifically, California law requires the following:
- In general, every non-exempt employee who works for more than 5 hours must be provided with a meal period of not less than 30 minutes. During this time, the employee is to be relieved of all duties and is free to leave the premises.
- Every non-exempt employee who works more than 10 hours must be provided with a second meal period of not less than 30 minutes.
- The right to a meal break generally cannot be waived. However, if an employee works 6 hours or less, the required break period may be waived by mutual consent of the employee and the employer. If an employee works 12 hours or less and the first meal period was not waived, then the second period may be waived by mutual consent.
- If an employee is not relieved of all duty during a 30 minute meal period, the break period is considered “on-duty” and counted as time worked. This is only permitted when the nature of the work prevents the employee from being relieved of all duty and the parties agree (such as an armored car guard). If the employee ends up working more than 40 hours per week in this situation, overtime pay would also be required.
- Every non-exempt employee is entitled to a 10 minute paid break for each 4 hours of work. Each break should be scheduled in the middle of the work period, if feasible. An employee does not have to take the break period.
- If an employee’s total daily work time is less than 3 ½ hours, a rest period is not required.
- As with meal breaks, the penalty for not giving a rest period is that the employee is owed one hour of pay for every day a break is denied.
- Employers are required to provide a reasonable amount of break time to accommodate an employee who wants to express breast milk for her infant (to run concurrently with any break time already provided, if possible). Employers must also make reasonable efforts to provide the employee with a room or other location (other than a toilet stall) to express milk in private. A location does not have to be provided if doing so would seriously disrupt the employer’s operations.
An employee is generally considered non-exempt unless he or she holds a management, administrative, or professional position. The determination of whether or not an employee is exempt from the break period requirements is based on his or her job duties, not on titles or how the employee is paid (even salaried employees can be non-exempt).
Common Violators of The Meal And Rest Break Laws
Violations of the meal and rest break law are more common in certain fields. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- IT and computer professionals
- private security and armored car employees
- hospitals, health care fields, and nursing home employees
- laboratory technicians
- managers and supervisors
- banking and finance employees
Orange County, California Meal & Rest Breaks Lawyer
Most every employee in San Clemente California has a right to routine break periods. If your employer is not allowing you to take legally required breaks, you can demand them. If your employer retaliates against you for asserting your right to meal and rest breaks it is important to contact an Orange County employment lawyer as soon as possible. At the Spencer Law Firm, our employment law attorneys have been helping employees enforce their rights and securing compensation for employer wrongs for many years. We can even file a class action lawsuit against your employer if your co-workers are in similar circumstances. Call the Spencer Law Firm today for a free case evaluation.