Unpaid Meal & Rest Breaks - Aiman-Smith & Marcy
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Rest Breaks and Unpaid Meals Lawyers in California

Defending your right to humane working conditions

The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) regulates the conditions under which you work and issues Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders (IWC Orders) that contain provisions for wages, overtime pay, accommodations for breastfeeding mothers, mealtimes and rest breaks. Our attorneys in the California law firm Aiman-Smith & Marcy apply more than 60 years of combined experience pursuing all available remedies when your rights have been violated.

California rest period laws

Employees who work for more than 3.5 hours a day at nonexempt jobs are entitled to 10-minute paid rest breaks every four hours worked. The IWC Orders contain several exceptions to this general rule, including:

  • 24-hour residential care facilities — rest periods may be limited under circumstances enumerated in IWC Order 5-2001, Section 12(C)
  • Motion picture industry — performers engaged in strenuous activities should be granted additional rest periods during rehearsal and shooting, according to IWC Order 12-2001, Section 12 (C)
  • Commercial fishing boats — overnight fishing crews should be permitted at least eight hours off-duty time every 24 hours in addition to meal and rest breaks
  • Construction, drilling, logging and mining industries — employers can stagger rest breaks or schedule them to correspond with work flow

California labor and employment lawyers protect your rights to work under humane conditions that include reasonable rest periods.

Rights of new mothers

A lactating mother has the right to a reasonable period of time in which to express milk for her infant child. The employer is not obligated to pay her for this time if it does not run concurrently with her break period. However, the employer must make a reasonable effort to accommodate her with a private space or room other than a toilet stall.

Meal periods

California law requires employers to permit half-hour meal breaks for every five hours its employees work per day. During the meal period, employees must be relieved of their duties and allowed to leave the premises or the employer must pay for the time. Some exceptions to the general rule exist in certain motion picture jobs and when relief from work duties is not feasible — such as for sole workers in a coffee kiosk, 24-hour bodega or security detail at a remote location.

If your employer has coerced you to skip your meals or has required you to continue working as you dined, our California wage lawyers seek back wages that amount to one-hour at your regular rate of pay for all the meals you unjustly missed.

Learn more about your rights to meals and rest breaks from our lawyers in California

If you have been denied your legal right to mealtime or rest breaks, please call us at 510-817-2711 or use our email form and contact us for a free consultation with one of our attorneys: Randall Aiman-Smith, Reed Marcy or Hallie Von Rock. Our office is located near the Oakland Coliseum off Highway 880, 66th Avenue exit. We welcome the opportunity to review and discuss your legal concerns.

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