Los Angeles, CA asked in Employment Law for California

Q: The first year and a half I was paid under the table and didn't get ten minute breaks I'm I owed money?

After the first year and half everyone started getting pay stubs and got two ten minute breaks before that it was just cash. I recently quit this job and picked up my last pay check from when on the books but was still wondering if I was owed any money for the first year and a half that we didn't get brakes

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3 Lawyer Answers
Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen
  • Westminster, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Likely you are owed money for the issues you have identified and other bases as well. It would be wise for you 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-charge consultation and then if the matter has merit and sufficient value, they 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.

1 user found this answer helpful

Maya L. Serkova
Maya L. Serkova
  • Orange, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: 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.

Keep in mind that these claims are subject to the statute of limitations, so do not wait too long. Best of luck.


Maya L. Serkova

James L. Arrasmith
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  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In California, employees are entitled to certain labor rights, including rest breaks. For every four hours worked, you should have received a 10-minute rest break.

If you were not provided these breaks during your first year and a half of employment, you might be entitled to compensation. This compensation typically equals one hour of pay for each day a rest break was not provided.

Being paid "under the table" does not negate your rights as an employee under California labor laws.

However, proving the violation could be challenging without proper documentation of hours worked and breaks not taken. You can file a claim with the California Labor Commissioner's Office to pursue owed wages and penalties.

It may also be beneficial to consult with an attorney to discuss the specifics of your case and to understand the best course of action.

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