Focused on getting our clients the compensation they need...

The Support You Need. The Settlement You Deserve.

Lunch Break Violations in California

Virtually every worker in California is familiar with the concept of the lunch break. It can be a great time to decompress and socialize with your coworkers. However, you may not be aware that, as an employee, you have certain rights when it comes to taking meal and rest breaks during your workday. These rights are protected under the California Labor Code, which is designed to ensure that every employee receives fair treatment from their employers.

Legally speaking, if you have been denied meal breaks or forced to work during your lunch break, you may be the victim of a lunch break violation by your employer. These violations can have serious consequences for employees, including lost wages and a negative impact on their health and well-being.

Understand Your Rights and Options By Contacting Maison Law

At Maison Law, we are committed to protecting the rights of employees and holding employers accountable for their actions. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. We will review the details of your case and help you understand your legal options. Let us help you seek the justice and support you deserve.

Meal Breaks and California Law

In California, lunch breaks–legally known as “meal breaks”–are a protected right for hourly (non-exempt) employees. Under California’s labor laws, these employees that work more than five hours in a workday are entitled to a:

  • 30-minute uninterrupted meal break.

Employees in certain industries or jobs that work more than 10 hours in a day are entitled to an additional 30-minute meal break. During this time, employees must be:

  • Relieved of all work duties
  • Be free to leave the premises if they choose

If an employer violates these laws, they may be subject to legal action and be required to compensate employees for lost wages. If you believe that your employer has violated your meal break rights, it is important to speak with an experienced employment law attorney to discuss your legal options.

How Do Employers Violate Meal Breaks in California?

It may seem counterproductive, but there are many different scenarios in which your employer will violate your legal right to a lunch break in California. These can range from them simply refusing to allow you to take a lunch break to making you work through your lunch break. Regardless of their intention or reasoning, when you don’t get your lunch break, it’s against the law. Generally speaking, here are the more common ways that an employer will violate California’s meal break laws:

  • Failing to provide a meal break – Employers are required to provide employees with a 30-minute meal break if they work more than five hours in a day. If an employer fails to provide this break, they may be in violation of California labor laws.
  • Requiring you to work during their meal break – Employees must be relieved of all work duties during their meal break. If an employer requires an employee to perform work duties during their meal break, the employer may be in violation of California labor laws.
  • Not providing an uninterrupted meal break – Employees are entitled to an uninterrupted meal break of at least 30 minutes. If an employer interrupts or interferes with an employee’s meal break, the employer may be in violation of California labor laws.
  • Not providing a second meal break – If an employee works more than 10 hours in a day, they are entitled to a second 30-minute meal break. If an employer fails to provide this second meal break, they may be in violation of California labor laws.

Because every workplace is different, there are a few exceptions to this rule. If the nature of your job prevents you from being relieved of all duties, then your employer may be able to require you to take an “on-duty” meal break. However, you must still be able to eat a meal while working and must be compensated for the time worked during the meal break.

How To Prove Meal Break Violations in California

Obviously, it’s fairly easy to understand a meal break violation in California–your employer either won’t allow you to take one or may try to get you to work through it. However, like any other claim, showing that you’ve been denied a meal break requires proof.  While meal breaks are mandated, the other legal requirement involves you being paid. Thus, there can be a lag between being provided with a break and not being paid for it.

Along with the right evidence, here are some steps to take to help prove that your employer violated your meal break rights:

  • Keep detailed records – Keep track of your work hours, including the time you clock in and out, the times when you take your meal breaks, and any instances when you were asked to work during your meal break. Also, make sure to keep paystubs. This documentation can be used as evidence to support your claim.
  • Gather witness statements – If your employer has a policy or practice of denying meal breaks, talk to your colleagues and coworkers to see if they have experienced similar violations. Their statements can help corroborate your claim and strengthen your case.
  • Review company policies – Review your employer’s policies and procedures regarding meal breaks. If the policy does not comply with California labor laws, it can be used as evidence to support your claim.

Whenever you feel like you have sufficient evidence that your employer has violated meal break laws, the next step is to contact our team of employment lawyers, We can help you understand your rights and the legal options available to you. They can also help you with these steps and build a strong case to support your claim.

Claims Process For Lunch Break Violations in California

Working with our lawyers can help you navigate the claims process for lunch break violations. Generally speaking, the process for these violations is largely the same as it is for other labor code violations. It typically includes the following:

  • Labor Commissioner’s Office complaint – Often, the first step in the process is filing a complaint with the California Labor Commissioner’s Office, which is responsible for enforcing labor laws in the state. You can file the complaint online, by mail, or in person. The Labor Commissioner’s Office will then investigate your claim and determine if your employer violated California lunch break laws.
  • Civil lawsuit – If the Labor Commissioner’s Office finds that your employer violated labor laws, they may order your employer to pay you back wages and penalties. However, another option to consider is filing a lawsuit against your employer. A civil lawsuit allows you to recover many of the same damages that the Labor Commissioner’s Office complaint does but has the added benefit of being enforced by a judge and, potentially, a jury. Usually, the damages that are awarded include the lost or unpaid wages, as well as any costs related to the emotional distress you experience.

With these options in place, it’s important to remember that every case is unique and there is no guarantee of a positive outcome. Still, our team will tailor our approach to your specific needs and will make sure you have the best chance at success.

Don’t Let Your Employer Violate Your Workplace Rights in California

As an employee in California, you have certain rights and protections in the workplace. However, employers may sometimes violate these rights, like not letting you take a lunch break. This can to a hostile work environment and even legal violations. At Maison Law, we take pride in our ability to stand up for the rights of our clients. Don’t let your employer violate your rights in the workplace, contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to let us help you hold them accountable.

Call Now Button