Q: Am I entitled to extra pay, since my employer does not allow 30 min breaks when I work 6 hours or more?
Several of the employees have worked with no 30 minute breaks for years. Our employer doesn’t want to pay us for that, because it’s too much money.
A: If you are not an exempt non-government employee, then your employer has an obligation to provide you with a reasonable opportunity to take a ten-minute, on-the-clock, uninterrupted, duty-free rest period for every four hours (or major portion thereof) that you work. As a non-exempt employee you also must be given a reasonable opportunity to take a thirty-minute, off-the-clock, uninterrupted and duty-free meal period on any workday when you work more than 5 hours.
If you are non-exempt and you are not given the reasonable opportunity to take the rest periods described above, you are entitled to a penalty wage in the amount of one hour of pay at your regular rate for every day you were denied at least on such rest period. You are entitled to another hour of pay for every day you were denied the meal period as described.
If your employer does not voluntarily pay you these wage penalties, you will need to bring a legal action to enforce your rights to those penalties. You can do that by filing an administrative wage claim with the Labor Commissioner's Office, or by filing a lawsuit.
At this point the wise move would be to locate and consult with an experienced employment law attorney as soon as possible to explore your facts and determine your options. I would suggest you look either on this site, or go to www.cela.org, the home page for the California Employment Lawyers Association, an organization whose members are dedicated to the representation of employees against their employers.
Most employment attorneys who practice this area of law offer a free or low cost consultation in the beginning and then, if the matter has merit and value, will usually agree to work on a contingency basis, meaning you can hire an attorney without paying any money until the matter results in a positive outcome for you. Many advance all the costs of the litigation as well. Do not let fear of fees and costs keep you from finding a good attorney.
Good luck to you.
A: Are you talking about rest breaks which are 10 mins or
Are you talking about 30 min meal breaks.
A: If you have several employees who want to bring a claim, you would have a very strong case against the employer. You can reach back up to 4 years to recover the one hour of premium pay for each day without the proper meal break, which has to start by the 5th hour of work! You can jointly hire an attorney to sue for all of you as a group and it would be very good at trial because you will have the solidarity of a group to describe the practices of the employer. You are also protected from firing for making this claim. You can also go to the Labor Commissioner and file individual claims. You should plan on being witnesses for each other, it will really strengthen your case. I have handled many of these cases both at Labor Commissioner (you are entitled to an attorney) and through the court. I currently have a class action for 100 workers and another action representing just 7. The issue becomes: can the pocket of the employer pay everyone? You also get attorney's fees paid by the defendants.
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