California Law states that an employer must provide their employee with suitable meal time breaks and rest breaks during a shift. These breaks will differ depending on aspects such as the age of the employee and the length of the shift. If an individual is not being allowed to take their mandatory breaks, they could be entitled to compensation from the employer or the company that they work for.
During a shift that is five hours or more in length an employee is entitled to an uninterrupted meal break of no less than thirty minutes. During this time, the employee should be allowed to leave the work premises if they wish to do so. If an employer does not allow an individual to take a thirty minute break, without interruptions, during a shift of this length, it could result in a lawsuit. However, there must be enough evidence available to prove that it was the decision of the employer, and not the employee, that this thirty minute break was not taken. An employee can decide for themselves not to take the thirty minute break, if they wish, but this would not give them grounds to file a lawsuit.
During a shift that is ten hours or more in length, an employee is entitled to two uninterrupted, thirty minute meal breaks. As previously mentioned, the employer cannot refuse these breaks to an employee, and if they do so, it could result in a lawsuit being filed against them. If an employee agrees to remain at work during these breaks, and to not take the meal breaks, they must be paid for the time that they are working over, unless another agreement has been previously made with the employer.
A lawsuit can be filed if an employer has refused to give the employee the breaks in which they are entitled during a shift. If an employer penalizes or punishes the individual for claiming their breaks, or filing a lawsuit to ensure they receive the breaks they are entitled to, the employer can be made to pay compensation to the employee in question. This includes terminating the contract of the individual without other reasoning.
Although individuals can file a lawsuit if these breaks are withheld, or if the incorrect wage has been paid, these cases are rarely dealt with by lawyers, and are instead handled by a representative of the Labor Code Violations Committee. A lawyer will only be active within these cases if they are complex, and require the advice of someone fully qualified to handle such cases.
The first course of action, if an employer has refused a meal break or rest break that an employee is entitled to, the individual must discuss such occurrences directly with their employer. If this discussion does not aid the process, it is recommended that the employee contact an employment lawyer to discuss this with them in detail. As there are many rules and regulations in place, these cases can be complex, and involving a lawyer would allow the individual to gain a better understanding on where they stand in regards to making a claim or filing a lawsuit.
We can assist you throughout the proceedings of your unpaid wages lawsuit in order to ensure that you get compensation. Call us now and speak directly with an employment lawyer who specializes in unpaid wages at 1-559-478-8826.
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