California has stringent laws for non-exempt employees where meal and rest breaks are concerned. Employers must abide by these legal requirements regarding the amount of time extended to employees and the number of times in a shift that they must be provided with a chance to eat and rest. Exempt employees, including executives, managers, sales personnel, and other administrative employees, are not subject to the same rules. Blackstone Law has represented numerous non-exempt workers taken advantage of by unscrupulous employers where meals and rest breaks were concerned.
Our focus is on protecting your rights under all state and federal employment laws. We have honed our legal strategy to offer maximum protection and support to those non-exempt workers that need it the most to get you much-deserved compensation for the stress your employer caused you by breaking the rules.
Two Types of Workers Who Often Miss Required Meal and Rest Breaks
There are many types of non-exempt worker who are more prone to missing required meal and rest breaks. Two in particular that stand out include retail workers and inside sales personnel.
Retailer workers are not typically classified as exempt and, as such, fall under the protection of California’s meal and rest break laws. However, this employment category is among the most common violations on this issue. Part of the reason retail workers may be denied their proper breaks is that they are often responsible for specific areas of the business and thus may not be able to leave the space when the time comes for a break. This is especially problematic when the employer has not arranged for proper coverage or scheduling.
Inside Sales Personnel
Inside sales personnel is a different employment category than traditional outdoor salespeople, who generally work as exempt, commissioned employees. The U.S. Department of Labor generally categorizes those who make indoor sales as non-exempt staff, which means that employers must adhere to meal and rest break laws for this employment type. Yet, many companies miscategorized these salespeople as exempt, and they miss out on critical employment protections.
What Are California Meal and Rest Break Laws?
California state law stipulates that you must receive a 30-minute unpaid meal break any time you work more than five hours. This break must be free of any work-related responsibilities, and you must be free to leave the workplace. In other words, you must be free to do whatever you wish. Your employer cannot dictate how and where you spend the 30 minutes you are allotted for your meal break. The onus is on your employer to ensure that you take your meal break promptly. If your shift exceeds 10 hours, you must be provided with a second 30-minute meal break.
Meal breaks are different from rest breaks. For every four hours on the clock, California requires that your employer provide you with a 10-minute paid rest break. This break should be provided to you in the middle of the four-hour work period. Someone working an eight-hour shift in California would be entitled to two 10-minute rest breaks and one 30-minute meal break.
Ways a California Meal and Rest Break Lawyer Can Help
If you retain our services, we will start by accurately assessing your case to determine the facts of what happened, how often, and what other circumstances should be considered. Proving meal and rest break violations can be tricky since employers must provide them, but employees are not required to take them.
As such, we will gather evidence from various sources to help prove that your employer knowingly violated California labor law. This might include emails or other written communication to support your case and any eyewitness testimony from others in the workplace that can substantiate your claims.
Seek Assistance From a California Employment Attorney for Meal and Rest Break Violations
California employers that attempt to cheat their workers out of allotted mealtimes should be held accountable for their actions. If you have been denied meals and rest breaks despite laws that dictate otherwise, you need an established California employment attorney that can help. We have a track record of success in litigating state and federal labor law cases in court and have won substantial financial awards for our clients. We are dedicated and highly qualified, and we may be able to help with your case.