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Los Angeles Meal and Rest Break Violation Lawyer

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California labor laws provide many employees with protected rest and meal breaks during their shifts. Employees are entitled to these breaks, and a Los Angeles employer who prevents or discourages employees from taking these breaks is violating the law and employee rights. Employers who do not have enough staff to cover employees while they take their breaks may also be violating labor laws.

Employees should be fully compensated for their work. This includes your ability to take paid and unpaid breaks. If your employer is violating your employee rights by requiring you to waive breaks or by interrupting your breaks, you can earn compensation by filing a claim.

Shirazi Law Firm PC: Employment Lawyer to Protect Your Labor Rights

Wage claims can be daunting to many employees, who may fear retaliation or worry that the claim will not be worth the time, stress, and expense. It can be very helpful to work with an experienced labor law attorney. An attorney can determine if you have a valid claim, lay out the options for compensation, and help you understand what you could gain from a civil claim.

At Shirazi Law Firm PC, we have years of legal experience and have represented employees in our community in wage theft, discrimination, and wrongful termination claims. We understand the intricacies of employment law and know how frustrating it can be to learn you have been denied the wages you deserve. Let us help protect your employee rights.

Rest and Meal Breaks in Los Angeles

Nonexempt employees in Los Angeles are entitled to a certain number of rest and meal breaks, depending on the length of their shift.

  • Rest Breaks

For every 4 hours an employee works, they have the right to a 10-minute rest break. This break is paid and is ideally taken in the middle of their shift. An 8-hour shift entitles an employee to two paid rest breaks. These breaks must be uninterrupted and relieve the employee of all work duties. An employee also has the right to leave their worksite during their rest break.

  • Meal Breaks

An employee has the right to a meal break for every 5 hours they work in a shift. For a 10-hour shift, an employee is entitled to two meal breaks. A meal break is unpaid and must be a minimum of 10 minutes. The break can take 30 minutes. Like rest breaks, the meal break must be uninterrupted, the employee cannot have job duties during the break, and they have the right to leave the worksite. In some circumstances, a meal break can be waived voluntarily.

Nonexempt employees have the right to rest and meal breaks, and employers cannot require that employees combine their rest and meal breaks. An 8-hour shift entitles an employee to two rest breaks and one meal break.

Exempt Employees for Rest and Meal Breaks

There are some employees who are exempt from meal and rest break laws. These employees meet the following criteria:

  1. They make a salary at least twice the salary of an employee paid the state minimum wage
  2. Their job’s primary duties are managerial, executive, administrative, or professional
  3. They must regularly use excessive personal discretion and judgment in significant matters

Certain classes of employees, such as independent contractors or outside salespeople, are also exempt from rest and meal breaks.

Additionally, there are some employees in other industries that have other requirements for rest and meal breaks. Industries where employees are protected by a union have unique break laws, such as security officers, healthcare workers, and public gas and electric utility companies. Agricultural employees and others who work outside are entitled to breaks in a shaded location whenever they need, to limit their risk of heat illnesses.

Employment Law FAQs:

Q: Can I Sue My Employer for Not Giving Me Rest Breaks in California?

A: If you are a nonexempt employee in California, you can file an administrative complaint or a civil claim against your employer for not allowing you rest and meal breaks. In some cases, an employer can violate your employee rights by not providing you the chance to take a mandated break, even if the employer does not verbally discourage the break. If your employer is forcing you to work through your legally protected breaks and does not compensate you accordingly, you can file a complaint with the state or federal agency. The agency may take action against your employer or send you the right to sue.

Q: What Is the Penalty for Meal Break Violations in California?

A: For each missed rest or meal break that was not waived by an employee willingly, an employer must pay the employee an additional hour of pay at the employee’s typical rate. This also applies if all conditions for a valid meal or rest break are not followed, such as being a certain length and being uninterrupted. If an employer does not provide this compensation for break violations, the employee can file a wage claim.

Q: Can I Waive My Meal Break in California?

A: Yes, your meal break can be waived in certain circumstances. You can choose not to take your meal break for any reason if your shift is less than 6 hours. If your shift is longer than 10 hours but less than 12, you can only waive the second meal break if you did not waive the first meal break. Your employer cannot ask you to skip your meal or rest breaks or discourage you from taking them.

Q: Who Is Exempt from California Meal Break and Rest Break Laws?

A: In most cases, employees who earn an hourly wage are nonexempt and, therefore, receive rest and meal breaks. Exempt employees who do not have the same rest and meal break requirements include the following employees:

  • Those that earn a salary twice that of a minimum wage full-time employee
  • Those who have managerial, executive, or professional duties
  • Those with job tasks that require independent judgment

Certain industries, such as healthcare, public utility companies, and security agencies, have different guidelines for rest and meal breaks. Union-protected employees also have different rest and meal break rules.

Defend Your Employee Rights

You can file for compensation for lost rest and meal breaks up to 3 years after your rights were violated. Let the attorneys at Shirazi Law Firm, PC, help you obtain the compensation you earned. We can help you manage the entire process, from filing an administrative complaint to filing a civil claim. Contact our firm today.

Cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, meaning we only get paid after you do. Consultations/communications can be virtual if preferred.

“I cannot recommend Mr. Shirazi enough! I was wrongfully terminated from my long term job. I didn’t know where to turn and found Mr. Shirazi. He took the time to talk to me for an hour explaining what legal rights I had. Upon hiring Mr. shirazi he kept me up to date on every step and was honest and upfront with me. He worked miracles and got me a great settlement. Mr Shirazi handles only employment cases and his expertise was invaluable to my case. if you find yourself in need of an employment attorney, Mr. Shirazi is the one to call“

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Cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, meaning we only get paid after you do. Consultations/communications can be virtual if preferred.

“Emanuel Shirazi went above and beyond on my case. My employer treated me so unfairly and I felt like I had no where to turn. I met with Emanuel and he told me: I’ve got your back. This guy is a pit bull who never stops fighting for his clients. So glad he was on my side and not vice versa. Trust me, Emanuel won’t let you down“



Founder Emanuel Shirazi is an employment lawyer in Los Angeles representing employees who have been legally wronged by their employers. In addition to representing employees, Mr. Shirazi used to defend employers while he worked at the largest employment law firms in the country. Thus, Mr. Shirazi knows the tricks of the trade of the other side and will use that to your advantage in your case. Mr. Shirazi’s experience helps him anticipate your employer’s defense and prepare accordingly.