San Bernardino Meal and Rest Breaks Lawyer
As a dedicated employee in San Bernardino, CA, you work hard each day to perform your duties and get your job done properly. However, long hours and consistent work can quickly weigh down anyone. This is why there are laws in place implementing mandatory rest and meal breaks for California employees during their workday. Because rest and meal break regulations vary from state to state and sometimes even from employer to employer, it’s essential that you know your rights when it comes to taking the breaks you deserve.
At Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers, our firm is committed to protecting and representing the rights of California employees from around the state. We understand how hard you work and how much time you put into your job, which is why we’re devoted to making sure you are treated fairly while you’re there. If you’re being forced to work during meal or rest breaks or believe your rights as an employee are being violated in San Bernardino, our employment lawyers are here to help.
Requirements for Rest and Meal Breaks as a San Bernardino Employee
California employment law is largely in favor of employees and is stricter than most other states. This provides a wider range of employees with a variety of rights and protections at their place of work. Here’s what the law requires for meal and rest breaks.
While there are no federal laws that blatantly state an employer has to grant their employee time to eat during the day, California employment law requires that they do so. Employers are required to provide at least one 30-minute break for a meal after every five hours that an employee has worked. These breaks do not have to be paid for but must be provided so that employees can have time to rest and eat if needed. An employee is encouraged to not engage in or perform work-related duties and to instead use the time to decompress. Employees also have the right to leave their work as well, but their break time will not be lengthened if they decide to do so.
If an employee works a shift that is six hours or less, they have the right to give up their one meal break if they feel they don’t need it. When an employee works at least 10 hours, they then have the right to a second unpaid 30-minute meal break. California law states that an employee does have the right to waive their second meal break if their shift is 12 hours or less, but they can only do so if they took their first meal break earlier in the day. An employee cannot waive their right to both meal breaks on a workday that is over 10 hours.
California employment law requires the state’s employers to provide their employees with paid rest breaks throughout their workdays. Employees do not have to take these breaks, but they have the right to take a paid 10-minute rest break for every four hours that they work. If the breaks do not occur every four hours, an employer must provide one after each “major fraction” of time an employee works. While they are not as long as meal breaks, an employee is paid for the quick rest breaks that they do take throughout the day. If an employee works less than four hours, their employer is not required to offer them a rest break.
What Is the Difference Between Exempt and Non-Exempt Employees?
Similar to the state’s overtime laws, the requirements for rest and meal breaks are only applicable to certain employees who are referred to as non-exempt. Meal and rest break laws do not apply to exempt employees, who are most often white-collar employees with higher incomes. These laws also do not apply to specific unionized groups such as construction workers, commercial drivers, and security officers.
To be considered an exempt employee in California by your employer, you must meet these requirements:
- You easily spend more than half of your work time performing intellectual, managerial, or creative work for your job.
- You regularly demonstrate independent discretion and judgment when performing these duties.
- You earn a monthly salary that is considered to be more than twice the amount of the state’s minimum wage for a full-time employee.
How Can a Rest and Meal Break Lawyer Can Help You in California
When your rights as an employee are being violated, it’s in your interest to find an attorney that can represent you with your claim properly. At Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers, our employment attorneys can assist you in a variety of ways.
Evaluate Your Case and Help You Gather Evidence
If you believe your employer has violated your rights, the first thing you should do is find an attorney who can evaluate your case to see if you have a claim. Our employment lawyers can listen to you and your unique situation and help you determine whether you have substantial reason to file a claim. If we believe you do, our team can also assist you in gathering evidence and filing your claim. Because meal and rest break violations are technically a form of wage theft, you’ll need to have strong evidence to support your claim.
Negotiate on Your Behalf
When your claim is accepted by the Labor Commissioner’s Office, you will have to attend a settlement hearing and possibly go through litigation. In both of these instances, it’s critical that you have an attorney with strong negotiation skills to ensure you are not taken advantage of. If you agree to settle, our lawyers can fight for the most ideal outcome for your situation. If you and your employer can’t come to a settlement, our team can continue to negotiate for your interests throughout your legal proceedings.
Protect Your Rights as a California Employee
No one knows employment law better than an attorney who has practiced it for years. At Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers, our attorneys have represented countless employees and fought for their rights in a variety of employment law cases. You can trust our team to help you better understand your rights as an employee and to represent your rights throughout your case. We are committed to protecting California employees and making sure they’re treated with the respect and fairness they deserve.
Q: When Should You Hire a Meal and Rest Break Attorney?
A: If you are being forced to work during your breaks, not being provided meal or rest breaks, or believe your rights are being violated by your employer, you should find an attorney who can evaluate your case and see if you have a claim. If you have substantial evidence to file a meal and rest break violation claim, it’s in your interest to work with an experienced attorney throughout your legal proceedings.
Q: Can Your Employer Make You Work During Your Lunch Break in California?
A: According to state law, your employer cannot force you to work during any of your meal or rest breaks or even have you “on-call.” These breaks are meant for an employee to take a moment to step away from their work to help combat stress, fatigue, and other issues that can occur from a long workday. However, an employee can voluntarily work during these breaks if they choose to do so, but an employer is not held responsible if they do.
Q: How Do I File a Wage Claim in California?
A: An employee who has had their meal or rest break rights violated can file a claim with the Labor Commissioner’s Office either online or in-person. To do so, you’ll have to gather personal information and evidence to support your claim of lost wages and then fill out and file a claim through the Department of Industrial Relations. It’s important to note that there is a statute of limitations for filing wage claims in California, so you’ll want to file them as soon as possible if you believe an issue occurred.
Q: What Is the Statute of Limitations for Wage Claims in California?
A: The statute of limitations varies for each kind of employment claim that is filed. For wage claims regarding meal and rest break violations, an employee has three years from when they believe the violations began to file their claim.
Your San Bernardino Meal and Rest Break Lawyers
Every employee deserves to have ample time to rest and eat throughout their workday, no matter what their job may be. At Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers, we have spent years assisting employees from across California with their different employment law claims. Whether you have been forced to work during your lunch break or your employer hasn’t provided you with one meal break since you began the job, our team is prepared to evaluate your claim and represent your rights.
If you’re looking for legal assistance regarding a meal and rest break violation in San Bernardino, contact Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers to see how we may be able to help you today.