MEAL AND REST BREAKS

Under California law, most hourly (non-salaried) employees are entitled to paid rest breaks as well as unpaid meal breaks during their shift. 

Unfortunately, employers sometimes deny these rights to their employees. They may do this directly, by prohibiting an employee from taking their break, or they may do it indirectly, by pressuring or intimidating an employee to keep them from taking their break. 

If your employer is preventing you from taking your legally-mandated meal break or rest break, we’ll fight for your rights. Depending on the specifics of your situation, you may be entitled to compensation – and we’ll help you fight for justice, every step of the way. 

Meal Breaks: Understand Your Rights

As a non-exempt (hourly) employee, you’re entitled to at least thirty minutes of uninterrupted break time for every five hours of work. Most exempt (salaried) employees are entitled to a meal break as well. 

If you work at least five hours in a workday, this means that you’re entitled to a thirty-minute, unpaid meal break. 

If you work at least ten hours, you must be provided with a second thirty-minute, unpaid break. 

These breaks must be completely uninterrupted and you cannot be expected to perform any work during your break – such as answering the phone or greeting customers. In addition, with rare exceptions, you must be allowed to leave the premises during your break.  

If your employer does not allow you to take these meal breaks, they may be violating the law and you may be entitled to compensation. Contact us to schedule a free, confidential consultation to discuss your case and evaluate the best path forward.

Rest Breaks: Understand Your Rights 

As a non-exempt (hourly) employee, you’re entitled to at least ten minutes of paid rest per 3.5 hours worked.

This means if you work at least 3.5 hours, you are entitled to one paid break of at least ten minutes. 

If you work seven hours or more, you’re legally entitled to at least two paid breaks of ten minutes or more.

And if you work ten hours or more, you’re entitled to at least three ten-minute, paid breaks.

Just like with your meal breaks, these rest breaks must be completely uninterrupted and you cannot be expected to perform any work during your break. In addition, with rare exceptions, you must be allowed to leave the premises during your break.  

If your employer does not allow you to take these rest breaks, or refuses to pay you for this break time, there is a good chance they are violating the law and you may be entitled to compensation. Contact us [link to contact page] to schedule a free, confidential consultation to discuss your case and evaluate the best path forward.

How California Employers May Violate Your Rights

Below are several common ways in which employers may violate your rights to rest and meal breaks:

  • Misclassifying you as an “independent contractor” rather than an employee
  • Misclassifying you as an “exempt” (salaried) employee when you’re not
  • Discouraging you from taking breaks
  • Requiring you to remain on-site during your break
  • Interrupting you doing your break
  • Requiring that you perform work during your break
  • Not providing a suitable location for you to take a break
  • Failing to properly account for and compensate you based on your break time

This is a partial listing – if you think that your employer may be violating your rights in any way, please contact us today.

We’ll Fight for Your Rights

If you think that your employer may be violating your rights, we can help.

Whitehead Employment Law is focused solely on helping employees preserve their rights and helping them obtain compensation if those rights have been violated.

Fighting for your rights is all that we do! And we work exclusively on contingency basis, which means we only get paid if we win the case, and you don’t have to pay anything out of your own pocket!

We have settled and tried cases winning millions of dollars in awards for clients whose employers have failed to reimburse employees for work-related expenses. Many of these types of situations are ideal for class action treatment. Please contact us today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.

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