Missed Rest Breaks
CALIFORNIA REST BREAK LAWS CAN BE CONFUSING AND MANY EMPLOYEES AREN'T SURE ABOUT THEIR LEGAL RIGHTS. WHEN EMPLOYERS AREN’T SURE OF THEIR OBLIGATIONS, THEY MAY UNKNOWINGLY FAIL TO PROVIDE APPROPRIATE BREAKS. HOWEVER, FAR TOO OFTEN EMPLOYERS FACE REST BREAK LAWSUITS BECAUSE THEY DON’T RESPECT EMPLOYEE RIGHTS.
IN FACT, MEAL AND REST BREAK VIOLATIONS ARE ONE OF THE MOST COMMON TYPES OF CALIFORNIA EMPLOYER WAGE AND HOUR VIOLATIONS, TOTALING MILLIONS OF DOLLARS AWARDED TO WORKERS.
California Rest Break Laws:
In California, if you work more than 3.5 hours in one day, your employer must provide you with a 10 minute, uninterrupted, off-duty rest break every 4 hours. Your employer must relieve you of all of your essential duties and responsibilities so that you can actually take an uninterrupted, off-duty, rest break that is at least 10 minutes. The rest break must be completely uninterrupted. Your employer is not allowed to ask you any work-related questions during your rest break, or require you to work through any part of it.
Your Rest Breaks Are Your Own:
You have to be free to leave the company premises during your rest break. Even though, unlike meal breaks, your employer must pay you for your rest break time, your employer may not control you in any way during your rest breaks. Your employer must relinquish all control during your rest breaks. You have to be free to do whatever you want to do during your rest break.
An Employer’s Duty:
If you experience a short, late, interrupted, or missed rest break, your employer has a duty to provide you with an additional 1 hour of pay for each violation. These payments are called rest break penalties or rest break premiums, but they are actually compensation equal to 1 hour of pay for each violation at your regular rate of pay.
Additional Rest Breaks:
Also, if you work more than 10 hours in any work day, your employer must provide you a second meal period of at least 30 minutes. This second meal period must begin no later than your 10th hour of work. Your employer may not discourage or prevent you from taking any of your meal periods. Your employer may not require you to skip or work through your meal periods. Your employer may also not retaliate against you for wanting to take your legally-mandated meal periods.
In order for an employer to fulfill its obligation of providing legally-compliant meal breaks, an employer must do everything possible to prevent the following:
- Burdening an employee with unreasonable work expectations which forces an employee to work through rest breaks
- Unreasonably denying overtime compensation to the employee which forces an employee to work through rest breaks to complete all assigned daily tasks.
- Placing unreasonable deadlines or quotas on the employee, which force the employee to work through rest breaks
- Requiring employees to take their rest breaks on the company premises
- Requiring the employee to respond to customer inquiries during rest breaks
- Requiring employees to take rest breaks later than what is required under California in order to finish work-related tasks
- Conducting security checks, bag checks, and coat checks while the employee is on a rest break.
- Requiring employees to falsely record that they have taken rest breaks.
- Requiring employees to don and doff personal protective equipment (or PPE’s) during rest breaks
Contact Lawyers for Justice, PC Today for a Free Consultation
If you feel you’ve been denied a rest break, contact Lawyers for Justice, PC, and we’ll determine if your employer violated any federal or state laws. To get started, call (818) 647-9323 and receive a free consultation, today!