Wrongfully terminated for no reason at all, or for a reason that you feel is unjust? In California if you are a non-exempt employee you must be provided an opportunity to take a 10-minute paid rest break for every 4 hours worked, or a significant portion thereof – usually about 3 hours. Further an employer is required to provide non-exempt employees with a 30-minute unpaid meal break if the employees shift cannot be completed in 6 hours or less. If an employer fails to provide either of these breaks, he may owe he employee one hour of pay, which must be included in the next pay check.

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Recent cases have addressed the issue whether the employer is obligated to “ensure” the employee take these breaks. The cases have decided that employers are not obligated to police breaks and ensure no work is being performed during that time. Rather, employers simply must provide 30-minute, duty free meal periods, and similarly a 10 minute rest break.

Even though employers are now not legally obligated to police rest breaks at no time can an employer retaliate against an employee for complaining about not receiving their statutorily entitled rest periods or breaks. If an employer is simply not allowing breaks or actively opposing breaks and an employee complains about this practice to his employer it would be illegal for the employer to terminate this employee to intimidate other employees into not complaining.

Similarly, if an employee complains about being discriminated on the basis of his race, sex, religion, age or disability and an employer terminates them because of their complaint this would be wrongfully terminated. Further, if for an employer terminate an employee for complaining about these

Whenever an employee complains about not receive rest periods, meal breaks and similarly to be not be discrimination and harassment based upon their sex, age, race, or disability but is terminated for such complaints this would be wrongfully terminated. This article is not intended to give legal advice. If you need a consultation concerning specific questions relating to meal and rest periods, or retaliation for complaints about not be provide these breaks call Stevens & McMillan at (800) 738-3353.