8 Ways to A Lawsuit for Break Law Violation in California

An employer’s violation of California break law may result in a million dollar lawsuit.

After a tough morning at work, an employee heads to the office kitchen to make himself lunch. His stomach is rumbling, and that ham sandwich he packed sounds extra delicious. He takes his food out of the fridge, then pauses. He has a project due at the end of the day and is worried that his boss won’t like him taking a break, even for a meal. The man wonders if he is entitled to a mid-day break.

By: Brad Nakase, Attorney

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1. Are California Employees Entitled to a Break?

Non-exempt employees in California are entitled to breaks as per the state’s break laws. California employers are required to provide a 30-minute break to workers. The quantity of breaks is dependent upon the hours worked.

2. If A Employee Work Over Five Hours, Does the Employee Get a Meal Break?

If an employee works over five hours in a day, he or she is entitled to a meal break of at least 30 minutes. However, it is important to note that the meal break must begin prior to the end of their fifth hour of work.

3. What If An Employee Work Less Than Six Hours in a Day?

If an employee works less than six hours in a day, he or she is eligible to waive his or her meal break. In certain circumstances, with the written agreement of the employer, he or she may be able to remain on the clock during lunch. In this instance, the employee will continue to work during his or her meal break and will be paid for the time.

4. What If An Employee Work Over Ten Hours in a Day?

In California, an employee who works more than ten hours in a day is designated a second 30-minute meal break. This break is to be taken prior to the end of the tenth hour of work. The employee is eligible to waive the second meal break, but only under the following conditions:

  • The employee does not work more than 12 hours in a shift
  • The employee has not already waived the first meal break

5. Is An Employee Entitled to Have a Rest Break?

California employees are also protected under the state’s rest break laws. This means that any employee who works over 3 ½ hours in a day is allowed one 10-minute rest break.

6. What If An Employee Works Over 6 Hours in a Day?

California employees who work over 6 hours in a day are allowed a second 10-minute rest break. Similarly, if an employee works over 10 hours in a day, they are entitled to a third break of the same duration.

7. Does An Employee Get Paid During My Break?

California break laws dictate that employers must pay employees during rest breaks. The break period is thereby counted as hours worked.

8. When May An Employee Take a Break?

Ideally, rest breaks will be taken halfway through each work period, with the meal break acting as the divider between periods.

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