California Meal Breaks Violations Attorneys

If you are a non-exempt employee and work more than 5 hours in any workday, California law requires that your employer provide you with a meal break. You are entitled to more meal breaks if you work more than 10 hours in any one day. There are some exceptions to this law. Also, your employer does not have to require you to take a meal break; only make it available to you.

If, however, you are not receiving meal breaks, are being forced to work without one, or are receiving less than the mandatory minimum period, contact The Law Offices of Alex G. Tovarian.

Meal Break Provisions

If you work more than 5 hours, the meal break laws mandate that you receive a minimum of a 30 minute meal break. For workers whose workday is only 6 hours, you and your employer may waive the meal break by mutual consent.

You are also entitled to a second meal break of at least 30 minutes if you are working at least 10 hours in a day, though you may again waive by mutual consent with your employer having a second meal break if your workday is no more than 12 hours and the first meal break was not waived.

Exceptions to Meal Break Laws

Exempt Workers

Exempt employees are not entitled to meal or rest breaks under California law. If you feel you have been misclassified as exempt, contact the attorneys at The Law Offices of Alex G. Tovarian and we will determine if you are indeed exempt or not.

Motion Picture Industry

There are other exceptions to the meal break provisions. Employees in the movie or motion picture industry must have a 30 minute to 60 minute meal break after no more than 6 hours. They also get a second meal break no later than 6 hours after the end of the last one. For these workers who work past midnight, facilities for providing hot drinks and food must be provided unless the employee is regularly scheduled to work at these hours and is an off-production employee.

Nature of the Work

There are also occasions when the nature of the employee’s work does not allow him or her to be relieved of all duties. In these cases, there must be a written agreement with the employer agreeing to an on-duty or on-the-job meal period, which must state that the agreement is revocable at any time by the worker.

Certain workers, though, may not agree to an on-duty meal period unless the employee would be prevented from being relieved of all duty. Such workers include security guards or those working night shifts when no other employees are present.

Facilities Provided

If the meal period occurs on a work shift that begins or ends at or between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., the employer must provide facilities whereby workers can obtain hot food and drinks.

Leaving the Work Site

A non-exempt worker must be permitted to leave the work site for a meal break. If the worker is required to remain on-site, the meal period must be paid even if the worker is not working during this time. In trades or situations where it is not possible to leave the work site, such as mining, logging or construction, these workers are covered under a separate industry wage order. These workers, though, must be provided a supply of soap, potable water and single use towels for washing.

Meal Breaks Violations

Should the employer not provide an eligible worker with the required meal break or breaks, the employer must pay one additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular pay rate for each workday that the meal break is not provided. As a worker, this is not counted as an actual working hour so that overtime pay does not apply.

An employee may choose to work during a meal period but if the employer is aware that the employee is performing regular work duties during this time, the worker must be paid for time worked.

Also, if the employer requires you to stay on the premises during your meal break, the meal break must be compensated unless your work is covered under a different industry wage order as indicated above.

Remedies for Meal Break Laws Violations

It is not unusual for employers to circumvent California’s lunch break laws. Some employers may have workers eat just after a shift has begun and then work more than 6 hours without another meal break. Others may intentionally alter or misrepresent the time worked and the meal break taken.

You can file a wage claim with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement or file a civil lawsuit against your employer if the violations have been ongoing. California law requires that you file a suit or claim within 3 years of the violation.

Contact the Labor Lawyers at AGT-Lawyers About Labor Laws Breaks

Lunch break laws are complex. The meal break violation lawyers at The Law Offices of Alex G. Tovarian have dealt with these laws and how they affect different workers in various trades and industries. Our employment attorneys are experienced in this conjunction of labor law and workers rights, and have the resources and knowledge to handle meal break violation cases. Contact us today for a free, confidential initial consultation with an experienced meal break violation lawyer.