California law requires that employers provide non-exempt workers with a 30-minute, uninterrupted meal period for every 5 hours worked. An “uninterrupted meal period” means that you aren’t on-call, you don’t have to carry and respond to clients, you do not have to take phone calls, and you do not have to respond to work emails. It means you are free to do whatever you desire with that time. If you aren’t given an uninterrupted 30-minute meal break, your employer must pay you an extra hour’s wages for each violation.
The law also demands that employers provide their non-exempt employees with a rest break for every 4 hours of work. You should have a rest break after no more than 3.5 hours. For shifts of between 6 to 10 hours, employers must give at least two 10-minute rest periods. If you are not given an uninterrupted 10-minute rest break for up to 4 hours of work or two 10-minute rest breaks for shifts of between 6 and 10 hours, your employer must compensate you with an extra hour’s pay for each violation.
If the violation applies to a group or class of workers over a substantial period, then a class action may be appropriate. Our experienced attorneys are here to help you understand your meal and rest break rights in your workplace and ensure that employers provide you with what is required by law.
Our attorneys have extensive experience representing workers who have been denied their legally required meal or rest breaks.
An employer must provide non-exempt employees with meal and rest periods in the Labor Code and the applicable wage orders. An employer need not affirmatively oversee workers to make sure they are taking their meal and rest breaks but must make them available to the workers nevertheless. Generally, an employee is entitled to a paid 10-minute, duty-free rest period for every four hours worked, “or major fraction thereof.”
For a shift of more than two hours but less than six hours, a worker must be given a paid 10-minute, duty-free rest time. For shifts of more than six hours but less than 10 hours, a worker must be given two paid 10-minute, duty-free rest periods. If an employer fails to allow and permit an employee to take these rests, then the worker is allowed to recover the penalty described below.
An employer must also give an employee an unpaid, 30-minute, duty-free meal break for every five hours worked. A worker and an employer can waive this requirement only if the shift is less than six hours. If the worker is not relieved of all duty for the full 30 minutes, the employee must be compensated for the time spent working and the penalty described below.
Suppose an employee is not provided meal and rest periods described herein. In that situation, the employer must compensate the employee with one hour of pay at the regular compensation rate for each such violation (i.e., one meal or one rest period violation per day).
Often, meal and rest period infringements happen in combination with other violations of the Labor Code.
If you were not allowed to take meal and rest periods, contact us today for a free consultation with a qualified attorney. Our California employment lawyers have significant experience in representing current and former employees in wage and hour cases.
I was unexpectedly let go from my company and faced with the sudden decision of whether to sign a severance agreement. I no longer trusted the company and needed someone on my side. Katharine Chao was recommended to me, and I hired her to advise me on the separation and of my legal rights. I felt so much more reassured and confident under her counsel, and she got my former company to agree to the more favorable severance terms I wanted. I can now move confidently onto the next chapter of my career.
Olivier & Schreiber LLP represented me in a sexual harassment case against my former employer and manager. I was really nervous to seek justice since I had never been involved in a lawsuit before. I did not even know whether I had a good case, but Katharine Chao patiently explained my rights to me and came up with a strategy that resulted in a great settlement. Throughout the process I felt like the people at O&S really heard me and treated me with dignity and respect. I highly recommend the lawyers at O&S, they are extremely knowledgeable, sharp, and compassionate.
Katharine Chao is my Hero! Not only did she take on a global world power, the compensation this warrior got for me far exceeded my wildest expectations. Kathy’s knowledge of my grievances was exceptional. She did her homework, was very thorough and explained to me the best strategy to follow and how to achieve our mission. I felt very comfortable and in good hands with her. Kathy also has a great sense of humor. She talked with me like a fellow worker, no condescending lawyer-gobbledygook. I wouldn't hesitate a second to seek counsel from her and O&S again.
As a former client of Kathy’s, there are three reasons why I would highly recommend her. First and foremost is her ethics. Even though my case spanned a couple of years, Kathy never pressured me into any course of action and instead, displayed patience and unwavering support. Second, having worked with Kathy over the years, I can confidently say that she is compassionate and cares about her clients’ wellbeing. She truly exemplifies what it means to be a world-class professional advisor. Finally, she is a fierce advocate for justice. Specifically, she pursued multiple legal avenues to redress the issues at hand. I was always confident that no stone was being left unturned in the work to hold people accountable for their actions. She didn’t engage my case to fold a strong hand. She engaged to win.
I was part of a collective action against a “big ride share” company; O&S successfully settled a case on my behalf in 2020. I even continued working throughout the entire process and kept my job! The people at O&S are so thorough and caring and they treated me with kindness. My questions were always answered, and my calls were taken or immediately returned. They made the intimidating legal process easier than I could have imagined and were there for me every step of the way. Thank you O&S, with special thanks to Kathy Chao. Hopefully, I won't need any legal services again but if I do, I know I have a law firm I can trust (yay), rely on, and refer to friends, family or colleagues.
Monique took on a complicated medical malpractice appeal for my clients after we obtained a jury verdict. Not only was she successful in upholding the verdict, but it became a published decision that helped define the landscape of California law. For her efforts she was recognized by California Lawyer Magazine as an "Attorney of the Year" for medical malpractice! When I have an appellate issue, Monique is my first choice!!
Both Christian and Katharine are terrific people as well as knowledgeable and trustworthy attorneys. They work hand-in-hand with their clients, developing case strategies collaboratively and responding swiftly to any concerns that arise. If you need legal representation, choose O&S!
Hiring Monique Olivier to handle the appeal of a trial I won was easily one of the best decisions I have made in my entire legal career. In addition to being incredibly smart, Monique’s skills and preparation were impeccable. She gave me a tremendous amount of confidence, and did an incredible job in every aspect of our appeal. My clients and I will always be grateful for Monique's superior work, and I strongly recommend her as an appellate lawyer.
Christian and his team looked out for my best interests. They had my back and were professional and unrelenting in achieving fairness for me.
Christian Schreiber was very supportive, considerate, and understanding of my situation. Super hardworking, it felt as if he was always working on my case, and always kept me in the loop. I truly appreciated that. He was always available and was super quick to answer any questions or concerns I had. He has a true passion for this job and I will highly recommend him.
I needed counsel ready to interact with a delinquent, low integrity, and untrustworthy employer. I also needed clear guidance on the path ahead. O&S was instrumental in driving the clarity I needed while being both comforting and "no nonsense." Deeply satisfied with my representation, I have recommended O&S numerous times to others in need of employment labor counsel.
Monique Olivier came highly recommended to me by a dear friend. After one meeting, it was clear to me that she was the direct, wise, and earnest attorney that I needed to back me. Monique was accessible and patient with me, particularly with the emotional aspects of my situation, and was able to provide clear and honest counsel. In the end, we were a successful team. I will forever be grateful for her support and advocacy. I cannot recommend her highly enough.
Katharine Chao supported me with some employment termination issues through a consult session. She listened attentively to my account of events and elicited supporting information before offering her sound legal opinions and advice. I felt reassured about the terms of my separation. I have high regard for Katharine Chao and would return to her for future employment legal matters.
Katharine Chao is a top-notch attorney that will go the distance for her clients. She came highly recommended to me and delivered on all fronts. Her work ethic, integrity, professionalism, and thoughtful approach are some of her strongest attributes. Her commitment to her clients is unparalleled with accessibility that I generally have not experienced with other attorneys. I highly recommend Katharine Chao for your employment law needs.
Christian is an extremely knowledgeable class action attorney. He's very passionate about protecting employees' rights and helping others. In sum, an outstanding lawyer and a very kind person. I can't recommend him enough.
How did we do?
Note: Your review may be shared publicly.