Practice Area

Meal and Rest Breaks

Bluestone Law Recovers Penalties for Missed Meal and Rest Periods

All employees need to take breaks at work from time to time. California labor and employment law provide that almost all workers have the right to rest breaks and at least one meal break during their workday. Unfortunately, not all Los Angeles employers act in accordance with employment laws and unlawfully deny their employees well-earned breaks at work.

When your employer refuses to provide your legally mandated lunch break and rest breaks, you may need to take legal action to remedy the situation. Legal action could include getting the compensation you are owed for working through break periods. It is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for filing a complaint about missed meals and rest breaks.

Meal Breaks

In most circumstances, California hourly employees cannot work for more than five hours per day without being provided with at least one uninterrupted meal break of at least 30-minutes duration. Although there are exceptions, these meal breaks generally need to conform to certain basic requirements, including:

  • The first meal period must be provided no later than the end of the employee’s fifth hour of work
  • Employees must be completely relieved of duties for the duration of the break
  • The employee may choose whether to leave the worksite during the meal period.
  • Employees who work more than 10 hours per day may be entitled to take a second meal break.
  • Assigning employees to duties that violate the terms of the contract.

Rest Breaks

In addition to meal breaks, employees must be authorized and permitted to take rest breaks, which accrue at a rate of ten consecutive minutes for each four-hour work period. When problems arise concerning rest periods, you could be entitled to compensation. Like meal breaks, these rest breaks must meet certain basic requirements, including:

  • Rest periods must be paid as normal working hours.
  • Employees must be completely relieved of duties for the duration of the break
  • They must be taken in the middle of the work period.