Los Angeles Rest Break Violation Lawyer

Meal & Rest Break Violations in California

California labor laws mandate employers to provide non-exempt employees with meal breaks and rest breaks at specific times throughout the workday. Specifically, eligible employees are entitled to one 10-minute paid rest break for every four hours worked and one 30-minute paid or unpaid meal break if they work more than five hours in a day.

Additionally, as of January 1, 2020, California employers are also required to provide lactation breaks for nursing mothers according to specific accommodations. Failure to do so may not only violate an employee’s right to rest breaks but also their right to a workplace free of gender and/or disability discrimination.

If your current or past employer has violated your rights regarding meal or rest breaks, turn to the team at KJT Law Group. You could be entitled to compensation for unpaid wages, back-pay, and other related damages, and our Los Angeles rest break violation lawyers can help. We bring extensive experience in employment law to our practice, coupled with a zealous passion for defending the rights of California workers. We understand the many challenges these types of cases present, and we know how to navigate the system while effectively advocating for the justice you deserve. We provide legal services in English, Spanish, and Armenian and prioritize client communication, service, and support.

To request a free consultation with an attorney at our firm, call (818) 507-8525 or by reach us online using our free and secure contact form.

Who Is Entitled to Rest Breaks in California?

California’s wage and hour laws grant non-exempt employees the right to periodic rest breaks throughout the day. The law defines a “non-exempt” employee as one who is paid wages on an hourly basis and who does not meet the qualifications to be considered “exempt.”

Exempt employees in California include those who:

  • Primarily perform administrative, executive, or professional work duties
  • Are paid a salary that is at least two-times higher than the minimum wage for full-time work

  • Must regularly use individual discretion and judgement in performing work duties

Additionally, independent contractors, outside sales personnel, and some computer and technology professionals are also considered “exempt” under California State law.

If you do not meet these qualifications, you are likely a non-exempt employee and are covered by the state’s wage, hour, and overtime laws. This also means that you are entitled to rest breaks during a typical workday.

What Rest Breaks Are Workers Entitled to Receive?

There are two main types of breaks non-exempt employees are entitled to receive:

  • Rest Breaks: California labor regulations state that employees must receive a 10-minute rest break for every four hours worked. So, in a standard eight-hour workday, you must receive two 10-minute breaks in addition to your meal break. These rest breaks must be paid, meaning your employer cannot ask you or force you to clock out for a 10-minute break or withhold pay during that period. Additionally, the 10 minutes must be continuous and uninterrupted, and you must be entirely relieved of your duties during your break.
  • Meal Breaks: California law also requires employers to provide employees with one 30-minute meal break when employees work more than five hours in a single workday. The meal break may be paid or unpaid, but it must occur within the first five hours of the employee’s shift. Employees who work more than 10 hours in a day are also granted a second 30-minute meal break. Just like a 10-minute rest break, you must be fully relieved of your duties during your meal break, and the break itself must be continuous and uninterrupted.

Your employer cannot ask you to work or be “on call” during a rest or meal break unless the nature of your employment prevents you from being entirely relieved of your work-related duties and you have signed a written agreement to remain on call during your breaks. You are permitted to revoke this written agreement at any time during your employment.

Note that a person who works less than three and a half hours at a time is not required by law to receive a rest period.

The best thing you can do to protect your rights is contact an experienced employment law attorney. At KJT Law Group, our Los Angeles rest break violation lawyers can assist you in determining if you have a case. We are passionate about standing up for workers’ rights and are ready to fight for the maximum compensation you are owed by law.

Call (818) 507-8525 or by submitting an contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.

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Can You Waive Your Rest or Meal Breaks?

While California employers must provide non-exempt employees with adequate breaks, they are not required to enforce them. This means that you have the right to choose to work through your rest break or meal break and may waive your right to take breaks altogether. If it is your decision to work through a break, even if you feel that the culture of your workplace encourages this, you will likely be unable to file a complaint or sue your employer for a rest break or meal break violation.

You may waive your right to a 30-minute meal break if you are not working beyond six hours in a single day. You may also waive a second meal break if you are not working more than 12 hours in a day and did not waive your first meal break. Some employees choose to do this in order to have more favorable work hours. However, your employer is not allowed to pressure you or force you into waiving your meal break(s).

What to Do If Your Employer Committed a Rest Break Violation

If your current or past employer failed to provide you with the proper rest breaks and meal breaks according to California law, you may sue your employer. The purpose of bringing a wage and hour lawsuit is to recover compensation for breaks you were owed but did not receive.

If your lawsuit is successful, you can recover one hour’s pay (according to your hourly rate) for every meal or rest break your employer denied you. If you worked for an employer for six months and never received a meal break, despite working standard eight-hour shifts, you would be entitled to one hour of pay for every day during that six-month period in which you did not receive breaks (about 125 workdays).

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