Q: If I don't clock out for lunch cause I didn't end up taking my lunch and my employer adds my lunch am I owed money?
I am expected to take lunch but there isn't anyone who can cover my lunch and I'm not allowed to leave as I'm the only key holder
If you are not an exempt 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.
The situation you describe does not provide you with a reasonable opportunity to take your meal period. On top of that, if you cannot take a meal period, but your employer deducts time from your pay for a meal period, you are being robbed.
Your best move now 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.
Maya L. Serkova agrees with this answer
If your employer failed to provide you with a reasonable opportunity to take your meal and rest breaks, then you are entitled to recover from your employer one additional hour of pay at your regular rate of compensation for each workday that a meal or rest period was not provided. If you were not provided with a meal and rest break on the same day, then you can recover one additional hour of pay for a missed break and one additional hour of pay for a missed rest break for that same day.
I suggest you consult an employment law attorney who will further examine your situation and explain your options. Most employment law attorneys in California offer free of charge initial consultations and thereafter may take your case on a contingency basis, meaning you do not have to pay attorney’s fees unless and until there is a positive outcome for you. They may also advance either all or partial costs of litigation.
You can look either on this site in the Find a Lawyer section or go to California Employment Lawyers Association (www.cela.org), an organization whose members are committed to representing employees’ rights. Best of luck.
Maya L. Serkova
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.