San Diego Meal and Rest Breaks Lawyer

San Diego Meal and Rest Breaks Lawyer

Meal and Rest Breaks Attorney in San Diego, CA

Employees deserve to be fairly compensated for their time. That includes federally and state-protected break time. Employment laws in San Diego, California say that workers who are paid hourly (nonexempt employees) and work more than four hours a day are supposed to have one 10-minute break, and they should receive two 10-minute breaks for an eight-hour shift. Nonexempt employees who work at least a five-hour day are also entitled to an additional 30 minutes of unpaid break time.

If a worker is routinely not getting a meal and/or rest break, that person has a right to ask for it. Sometimes, the request is granted but the employer will retaliate against the worker subtly or by wrongful termination. A San Diego employment lawyer can address these situations. Contact me today.

How The Law Office of Frank S. Clowney III Can Help

You deserve legal representation that knows how to handle wage and hour violations. Our law firm has 40 years of experience with employment and labor law. We endeavor to tailor our advice to your needs. Whether you need counsel for negotiation or representation in litigation, our employment lawyers can provide you with the support you need.

It is unfair for employees to be expected to work with no breaks. I recently had a case in which a dispatcher had to be on duty at all times during his shift. It was impossible to take a break away from the workstation. We were able to file a wage claim that resolved that matter successfully. Our San Diego meal and rest breaks attorneys want to protect your employee rights.

San Diego Meal and Rest Breaks Lawyer

What Are California’s Rest and Meal Break Laws?

California’s break laws provide nonexempt employees with meal and rest breaks for certain shift lengths. An employee is not forced to take a break. However, your employer cannot prevent you from taking a break or discourage it in any way. In fact, it is illegal for them to do so.

  • Rest BreaksEmployees can take rest breaks for every four hours worked. A rest break is a paid 10 minutes of rest. Ideally, the break is in the middle of the four hours. Legally, this break cannot be interrupted, and you must be relieved of your job duties. You also have the right to leave the workplace.
  • Meal BreaksEmployees can take meal breaks after working more than four hours in a workday. A meal break is at least 10 to 30 minutes long. There are other rights associated with your meal breaks:
    • It must be uninterrupted by your work.
    • You must be relieved of all duties.
    • You can leave the workplace.

    You are also entitled to a second meal period if you work more than ten hours. However, you can waive your second meal break if:

    • You took a legally valid first meal break.
    • You did not work more than twelve hours in the workday.

Your employer cannot make you combine these two types of breaks. Therefore, you may be legally allowed to take both, depending on your shift.

What to Do If Your Meal & Rest Break Rights Were Violated

If you believe your rights were violated, you need legal counsel. Talk to an experienced employment law attorney about your wage and hour questions, your unpaid overtime questions, or your meal and rest break questions, such as:

  • What do you do when you are taking a break but working at the same time?
  • What do you do when you are not allowed to leave the floor to take your break?
  • What do you do when you are offered a lunch break but it is very difficult to actually take any breaks away from work at all?

I can help you make a decision about how to move forward with your life if you don’t know whether you have a case against your employer.

Why Do I Need a San Diego Meal and Rest Breaks Lawyer?

While you can file claims against your employer without legal counsel, it can be much more complicated. Although some employers make honest mistakes, many want to cover up their mistakes or are willingly violating your employee rights. This may lead to difficulty filing the complaint, as your employer may deny responsibility. An attorney can help you gather the evidence necessary to give your claim a better chance. You will also have a legal advocate if your employer retaliates against you.

Common Rest and Meal Break Violations

Employers often keep their employees from taking proper rest and meal breaks without directly refusing them. These may include:

  • Being given time-sensitive projects can prevent an employee from taking their breaks when they should. For example, an employee is entitled to a meal break during their shift. They must be provided with the break no later than the end of their fifth hour of work. Being given an urgent task that prevents an employee from taking a break in this timeframe is illegal.
  • Failing to have enough staff. If an employer does not have enough people working, employees may not be able to take an uninterrupted break. A rest or meal break that is done on-call does not count as a valid break.
  • Failing to separately pay commissioned salespeople. Salespeople who are only paid on commission must be paid outside of their commissions for their legally mandated rest breaks.

How Much Compensation Can You Get for Break Violations?

When you file a claim for meal and rest break violations, you are entitled to compensation. Suppose your employer failed to provide your breaks or discouraged you from taking them. In that case, this compensation could include an additional hour of pay at your normal pay rate for each workday you were denied a break. An employment attorney can walk you through your ideal legal options for successfully receiving compensation.

FAQs About San Diego, CL Rest and Meal Breaks Labor Laws

Can I sue for not getting breaks in California?

Yes, if you are a non-exempt employee. You have legally protected rest and meal breaks under California law. If you are denied these breaks, you can file a claim against your employer. You may also file a wage claim against them. This can allow you to recover an additional hour of compensation for the workdays on which you were not allowed a rest period. An attorney can help you file your claim with the correct information.

Who is exempt from California’s meal break and rest break laws?

Generally, hourly wage employees are considered nonexempt. Employees who have administrative, executive, or professional roles are considered exempt from the meal and rest break laws. Employees who earn a salary that is twice the minimum wage are also exempt. Exempt employees are still entitled to meal breaks, but not rest breaks.

What is the California law on breaks and lunches in 2023?

Non-exempt employees are entitled to a 30-minute unpaid meal break during a shift of at least five hours. This break must be uninterrupted. For shifts of ten hours or longer, an employee is entitled to a second 30-minute meal break. To comply with California law, rest breaks:

  • Must be at least ten minutes long
  • Are paid
  • Must be uninterrupted
  • Can be taken during shifts that are at least four hours long

Can I work 6 hours without a lunch break in California?

Under California law, you are entitled to a 30-minute lunch break for shifts longer than five hours. If your total work day is no longer than six hours, you can waive your meal break by mutual agreement between you and your employer. Your employer is not allowed to encourage you to waive your meal break. They also cannot discourage you from taking one.

Contact A San Diego, CA Meal and Rest Breaks Lawyer

If your legal rights to rest and meal breaks have been violated, you deserve compensation for your time. Many people worry that hiring legal counsel is not worth it if they lose their claim, but I handle cases primarily on a contingency fee basis. This means that you do not pay an attorney fee unless I recover damages. The Law Office of Frank S. Clowney III can represent your employee rights and prevent wage violations from continuing. Contact me today. Call 619-557-0458.

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