There are many blue-collar workers in California. These workers are the backbone of California industry and agriculture. Sometimes employers take advantage of their workers and it is important for employees to understand they have rights under federal and California law. Knowing the laws regarding breaks and meals in California is important.
Can an employer require their employees to work through their breaks? An employer may be feeling stressed and want their employees to help to get the work done. Whether there are tables that need serving, field work to get done before it rains, or industrial line work to get done before a deadline, there are many excuses an employer may use in getting their employees to skip their breaks. But California law offers employees legal protections regarding their breaks.
According to California law
- Employees working more than give hours in a day are entitled to a 30-minute lunch break. The meal break must be within the first five hours of an employees work-day. If they work more than ten hours at a time, they are entitled to another five hour meal break.
- Employees are entitled to a ten-minute break for every four hours of work. These breaks must be paid and must be in the middle of the employee’s shift or as close to it as possible.
- California employees who do not receive breaks can sue their employer. If an employer does not give their employees their required breaks an employee can sue their employer. Successful wage and hour class action lawsuits often involve break and meal disputes. An attorney who specializes in wage & hour claims can help their client determine if a violation has occurred and can hold the employer responsible for their negligence.