Under California’s labor code, non-exempt workers are entitled to a 10-minute paid rest break for every four hours they work and an unpaid 30-minute meal break for every five hours worked. During these periods, employees must be relieved from all types of work duties.
Noncompliance with these guidelines will result in employers paying the employee one additional hour of pay at the regular rate of compensation for each workday that the meal/rest break rule was violated. Additionally, on top of the base salary, the premiums must include the value of nondiscretionary pay, such as commissions and incentives.
Can You Sue Your Employer for Violating Meal/Rest Break Regulations?
The answer is yes, you can. Not providing workers with mandatory rest and meal breaks or requiring them to work during the breaks can be grounds for filing a class-action lawsuit. As with any wage and hour case, the statute of limitations for meal/rest break violations is three years from the most recent date the violation occurred.
First, let’s define a class-action lawsuit. Simply put, it is a type of lawsuit that involves a large group of employees who have the same complaint against their employer. When they unite to file a single lawsuit, they are called a “class.”
Requirements for Initiating a Class-Action
To be certified as a class, you and your colleagues must meet the following four criteria:
- Numerosity: The party should be great in number, although there is no minimum number of plaintiffs to meet this requirement.
- Impracticability: The class must be so numerous that the union of all members is impracticable.
- Commonality: The class must share the same complaints and grievances, and there should be questions of law or fact common to all members of the group.
How Class Action Lawsuits Benefit Workers With Meal/Rest Break Cases
There are multiple benefits to initiating a class action as opposed to filing an individual lawsuit against your employer. First, the overall cost of the lawsuit can be expensive. With more members on board, you cut costs on legal fees. This also makes it financially feasible for multiple plaintiffs to seek relief for small amounts.
Second, a class action lawsuit is typically decided by a single judge. This means it may take up less time compared to filing individual lawsuits that involve multiple judges.
Lastly, class action lawsuits for meal/rest breaks may negatively impact an employer’s economic and financial standing. To mitigate this risk, the employer might be more inclined to agree to a settlement. This way, employees regain their unpaid wages without having to spend a lot of money on bringing a suit to court.
Get Representation from an Experienced Wage and Hour Class Action Attorney
If your employer has violated your rights to meal or rest breaks, reach out to Haffner Law today. Our seasoned wage and hour class lawyers will provide you with diligent class action representation and legal counseling. We will leave no stone unturned to help ensure the best possible outcome for your case.
Get in touch with our firm today at 1-844-HAFFNER (423-3637) to schedule a free consultation or learn more about our services.