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Los Angeles Litigation Law Firm 424-284-2401

Can I Sue My Employer for Not Giving Me Meal & Rest Breaks?


Many employees in California are not aware of their rights to meal and rest breaks.

Under federal law, there is no requirement for employers to give their employees meal and rest breaks. However, employers in California are required to offer certain workers break periods.

So, when it comes to whether you can sue your employer for not giving you meal and rest breaks, in California the answer is, “It depends.”

Schedule a consultation with our Los Angeles employment law attorney at Litigation, P.C., to determine whether you can file a lawsuit against your employer in your particular case.

Who is Entitled to Meal and Rest Breaks in California?

Your employer must give you meal and rest breaks if you are a non-exempt employee in California as long as you work a specified number of hours in a workday.

Meal Break Requirements in California

Employers in California must give non-exempt employees meal breaks. Labor Code Section 512 contains the following meal-break requirements in California:

  1. Giving an employee a 30-minute meal break after working five hours in a day;
  2. Providing two 30-minute meal breaks to employees working more than 10 hours in a workday;
  3. Allowing employees to take their meal breaks off work premises if they wish to do so; and
  4. Prohibiting employers from requiring their employees to work during meal breaks to which they are entitled under California law.

Rest Break Requirements in California

Your employer must follow these rest-break requirements if you are classified as a non-exempt employee:

  1. You should have one 10-minute rest break if you work more than 3.5 hours in a day;
  2. You should be allowed to have a rest break in the middle of your work period unless doing so would not be practical;
  3. You should get a 10-minute rest break for every four hours in a workday;
  4. You cannot leave work premises during a rest break;
  5. Your employer cannot require you to work during your rest break; and
  6. You have a right to skip a rest break if you do not need it.

Can I Sue my Employer for not giving me breaks?

Yes, employees can sue their employers in California if the employer violates the state’s meal- and rest-break laws. If your employer fails to provide you with a meal or rest break, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit.

When an employer violates California’s meal- and rest-break laws, they can be ordered to pay the employee a penalty that equals an hour of regular pay for every workday in which the worker was denied a meal or rest break, according to Labor Code Section 226.7.

Employers must authorize and permit rest breaks, though there is no affirmative duty for California employers to require employees to take rest breaks if they do not want to. Unlike the meal breaks, 10-minute rest breaks do not need to be recorded on timekeeping documents.

Consult with our employment law attorney at Litigation, P.C., to receive the best legal representation you deserve. Our lawyer will evaluate your particular situation to determine whether you can sue your employer for not giving you a meal or rest break in California. Call 424-284-2401 for a case review.


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