Riverside Meal and Rest Breaks Lawyer
Whether or not you’re given rest and meal breaks depends on where you’re employed. This is because federal laws do not require employers to provide breaks, meaning the decision is ultimately up to your state or your employer. In California, however, the state’s meticulous employment laws grant workers the ability to take meal and rest breaks after a certain amount of hours have been worked. When an employer fails to meet California’s requirements for employee breaks, they are violating state law and their workers’ rights. Talk to Ferraro Vega Employment Lawyers to hold your Riverside, CA employer accountable for break violations.
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Riverside Employment Lawyers Who Care
At Ferraro Vega Employment Lawyers, we believe that every employee matters. We are a firm dedicated to the representation and protection of California employees, working tirelessly to fight for your rights. Each of our Riverside attorneys has practiced employment law extensively and has the skills needed to defend you against your employer and their daunting legal team. If you are a non-exempt employee in Riverside, California, you are entitled to meal and rest breaks. Make sure you receive the breaks and compensation you rightfully deserve with the help of Ferraro Vega Employment Lawyers.
Does California Law Grant Meal and Rest Breaks?
Unlike most other states, California’s labor laws require employers to provide both meal and rest breaks to their non-exempt employees. A non-exempt employee is any worker who is protected by labor laws and generally receives hourly pay. The number of breaks they are given for each shift is directly related to the number of hours they work. California also states that most rest and meal breaks must also be paid.
Your Rights to Meal and Rest Breaks in Riverside, CA
The laws surrounding meal and rest breaks in California vary slightly, as meal breaks are generally longer than rest periods. Here’s what you should know about your rights to breaks as a non-exempt Riverside employee:
- Rest Breaks
California mandates all employers to provide their workers with ten-minute rest breaks every four hours. In some scenarios, your breaks may occur after every “major fraction” of your shift as long the scheduling is fair. These breaks must be paid, as they are extremely short and often give workers time to decompress before hopping back into their tasks. Employees who work three and a half hours or less in one day are not entitled to a paid rest break.
- Meal Breaks
The state’s labor laws grant non-exempt employees the right to take a 30-minute meal break after every five hours that they work. Unlike rest periods, meal breaks are not paid. The only time that an employee may receive paid meal breaks is if they have a job that doesn’t allow them to fully take a break from their tasks.
For employees who work shorter shifts that are six hours or less, you are allowed to pass up your meal break if you believe that you don’t need it. This is known as “waiving your right” to your meal break, which many workers do when they know they’re going home right after a shift. Once your workday starts to reach the 10-hour mark, however, you’ll be required to take another 30-minute meal break. While you do have the chance to waive your right to your second meal break, you are only allowed to do so if you took your first meal break and your shift doesn’t surpass 12 hours.
Can You File a Claim Against Your Riverside Employer if They Don’t Give You Breaks?
If you work in California as a non-exempt employee, your employer legally has to provide you with adequate meal and rest breaks. If your employer refuses to do so, punishes you for taking breaks, or falsely states that they don’t have to provide breaks, you are allowed to file a claim against them.
If you’re looking to take legal action against your Riverside employer, you can follow these basic steps:
- Retain a Meal and Rest Break Lawyer
Any employee who decides to pursue a rest or meal break claim should work with an experienced labor firm. California’s labor laws are extremely in-depth, and having the support of a knowledgeable employment lawyer can give you a stronger advantage in your case. At Ferraro Vega Employment Lawyers, our rest and meal break attorneys have guided multitudes of employees through the claim-filing process.
- Identify the Violation that Took Place
After finding an employment attorney who you can depend on, you’ll need to work together to identify the exact violation that took place. When your employer doesn’t provide adequate breaks or the proper compensation for your breaks, this is a meal and rest break violation. To prepare for filing a claim, you’ll need to gather any evidence that demonstrates that your Riverside employer violated labor laws.
- Fill Out the Proper Paperwork and File It With LCO
All break-related employment claims are handled by California’s Labor Commissioner’s Office (LCO). This means that once you and your lawyer fill out your official claim, you have to submit it to the LCO for approval. If the LCO has sufficient reason to believe that your employer committed a violation, your claim will then move forward to a settlement conference and hearing.
The Advantages of an Employment Lawyer’s Guidance
It is absolutely critical that any employee looking to take legal action retains an adept employment and labor lawyer. Without representation from a skilled legal team, it can be easy for your employer to attempt to take advantage of you. Most California employers, especially large businesses and corporations, keep distinguished attorneys on retainer for whenever employment issues occur. This can make defending your rights on your own quite challenging, especially if you don’t have much experience with employment law.
Hiring a meal and rest break lawyer when your rights have been violated comes with multiple advantages, including:
- Help with filing a substantial claim.
- Effective representation during settlement conferences and hearings.
- Assistance gathering evidence that proves your employer’s liability.
- Impressive negotiation on your behalf, where we fight for compensation and damages that you deserve.
- Effective, efficient assistance that covers all of your employment law needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What Is the Difference Between an Exempt and Non-Exempt Employee?
A: “Non-exempt” and “exempt” are federal classifications used by employers to dictate certain rights of employees. The biggest difference between exempt and non-exempt employees is that exempt workers generally make fixed rates or salaries and are not eligible for opportunities such as overtime or rest and meal breaks. Non-exempt workers most often work hourly jobs, which gives them the chance to receive overtime benefits and even paid breaks.
Q: Can Your Boss Force You to Work During Your Rest or Meal Break?
A: In almost any circumstance, it is unlawful for an employer to force their employee to work while they are taking a break. The only time that an employee can legally work during a rest or meal break is if they volunteer to do so by waiving their break rights or if their job prevents them from taking a break from all duties at once. If, for some reason, your employer has coerced or forced you into working during your breaks, this is the same as denying you completely. If your boss also doesn’t pay you while forcing you to work during a break, this is a wage violation.
Q: If You Skip Your Meal Break to Work, Can You Leave Early?
A: Generally, this is a decision that is left up to your employer. However, it’s important to know that no part of California’s employment law grants an employee the right to skip a break so that they can leave their job early. While an employee can work through their lunch break voluntarily, they’ll still be required to work their full shift. If you skip your first meal break and have a shift that is over ten hours, you legally have to take your second 30-minute break.
Q: What Is the Statute of Limitations for Meal and Rest Break Claims in California?
A: All employment violations carry what are known as “statutes of limitations.” These dictate how long an employee has the right to take legal action against their employer before the claim is no longer valid. For meal and rest break violations in California, an employee has three full years to take action. The three-year limit starts on the day that the last violation took place, and it is multiple years so that employees have time to build a substantial claim.
Ferraro Vega: Representation When It Counts
There is no easy way to pursue legal action against an employer who violates your rights. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. Here at Ferraro Vega, we’re prepared to do everything we can to help you file a successful meal and rest break claim in Riverside. Your hard work deserves to be recognized, and your rights should be respected. Contact Ferraro Vega to schedule an initial consultation and find out what we can do for you.