Employees are entitled to have breaks as mandated by law. However, some employers refuse or fail to give as required thus resulting to break violation.
Generally under California labor laws, require employers to give their employees meal breaks after five hours of work. Meal breaks are given when an employee is required to work for more than six hours. During this time, an employee must be relieved of all work related duties. An employee must also be free to leave the work premises.
In my specific case, I was denied to leave the work area, and was told to report to a supervisor if I intended to leave the premises. This was disparate treatment, as no other employee was given these break violations to follow.
When an employee is made to answer the phone, read a report, listen to presentation or perform any other duties, additional pay is given as it is not the proper meal break defined by law.
Common Break Violations
One of the most common violations is making an employee eat on their desk while having to work. When this happens, an employee should be entitled to meal premium. This additional premium is equivalent to one hour pay for every day of a missed meal break.
Another violation is when an employee works for more than 10 hours in a single work shift. An employee must be given two meal breaks of at least 30 minutes each. Further, the break must not be five hours apart. Consequently, when an employer failed to provide these breaks, additional hours pay is due to employee.
Aside from meal breaks, California employees are also given mandatory rest periods. Employees are entitled to rest breaks if they have worked for more than three and a half hours a day. This rest break must be given in the middle of each work period for at least ten minutes for every hours worked or fraction thereof.
When proper and adequate breaks are not given, our labor lawyers in Los Angeles can help you avail of such break benefits provided by law or make an employer liable for additional premium pay.
After reading this above paragraph, it looks like I am entitled to “Break Benefits” provided by law, or that I should make my employer liable for additional premium pay, since they made the disparate treatment about my break restrictions.
Waiver of Meal Break
Pursuant to the California Code of Regulations, a meal period may be waived when the total work hours is for only six hours. However, the waiver must be in writing to be valid.
There are occupations, however, which do not prevent taking of breaks. For instance, a security guard cannot leave his post and stop guarding as doing so will be detrimental to the job. Through a written agreement, he can work through his meal period.
If you are not provided with sufficient rest periods and meal breaks, you can call our toll free hotline or fill out our free case analysis form for further evaluation of your case.
Los Angeles CA 90049
Email us at
If you are not given a rest break or a meal break and your employer refuses to pay the premium pay, you can file a claim with theCalifornia Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (also known as the “Labor Commissioner”) to require the breaks and/or recover the money. You can recover your premium pay for up to three years before the date of your Labor Commissioner claim. To help with your case, you should keep your own written records of every day you are not given a meal or rest break.