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California missed meal breaks lawyers

The opportunity to take a meal break lasting at least 30 minutes must be provided to all nonexempt California employees who work more than five hours in a day.  During this time, the employer must relieve you of all work-related duties and allow you to leave the work site. The meal period must be provided before an employee completes their fifth hour of work. (This time is separate from paid rest periods.)

However, you can choose to waive your right to this unpaid period if you are working less than six hours, if both you and your employer agree to waive the break.

Second Meal Break

If you are working more than 10 hours in a given day, your employer must also allow you to take another, unpaid 30-minute meal break.

This right can only be waived if you did not waive the first meal break, are working less than 12 hours and both employer and employee mutually consent.

Missed Meal Breaks

It’s important to note that although employers do need to allow and direct workers to take their meal breaks, they are not required to “police” these and make sure employees are not working through them.

Nevertheless, if you are not allowed to take a meal break on any given day, or if you were forced to continue working while eating, then you are owed one full hour of pay at your regular rate. You have up to three years to claim these “unpaid wages” if your employer does not comply with the law.

In some limited cases, if the nature of one’s job does not allow for them to be relieved all all work duties for a meal break, an employer and employee may agree to an “on-duty” meal break.  This must be agreed to in writing, and these breaks must always be paid.

Missed Meal Breaks?  Contact Fernandez & Lauby LLP for a Free Case Consultation

If your employer failed to provide you access to proper meal breaks or did not compensate you for working lunches, contact Fernandez & Lauby LLP for a no-cost consultation and our lawyers will fight for your legal rights as an employee.  You can reach us online or call our toll free phone number at 888-959-8508.

 

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News & Features

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--- Wednesday, June 29, 2016 ---

We just released a new page detailing critical wage information for California truck drivers.

--- Thursday, June 9, 2016 ---

Check out a new short article by Fernandez & Lauby regarding paid vacation benefits.

--- Thursday, November 12, 2015 ---

One of our employment attorneys discusses the details of missed meal breaks in her recent article, Hunger Pain Blues. Explore the legal details, penalties, and required extra pay regarding missed meal breaks in California.

--- Wednesday, November 11, 2015 ---

Trial Victory -- Fernandez & Lauby attorney, Brian Mankin recently prevailed at trial on an employee's individual unpaid wage claim in San Bernardino County Superior Court. The employee claimed that he was required to work more than 8 hours per day and/or 40 hours per week, but was only paid for 40 hours per week. He also claimed that he was given inaccurate wage statements. The employer claimed that it did not owe any additional wages. Mankin filed a lawsuit for failure to pay minimum wages and overtime wages, as well as failure to provide breaks and accurate wage statements. Following trial, the court awarded the employee his unpaid wages, interest and various penalties, plus the employer was required to pay approximately $60,000 in attorneys fees and costs to Fernandez & Lauby. If you were denied wages, misclassified, not given all required breaks or have any other concerns about your pay or working conditions, feel free to call, or email, the employment law team at Fernandez & Lauby for a free consultation. Most unpaid wage cases are handled by the firm on a contingency basis, meaning you don't pay unless you win.

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