Wage and Hour Violations - Types of Violations
The Carter Law Firm represents workers throughout California who have been the victim of wage and hour violations. Some of the most common such violations concern rest and meal periods and expense reimbursements.
Rest and Meal Periods
- Paid rest periods of ten minutes for every four hours or fraction thereof are available to hourly employees who wish to take them.
- The employer must clearly communicate to hourly employees that they are authorized and permitted to take rest breaks, which must come as near as practicable to the middle of the four-hour period.
- Rest periods may not be grouped together nor taken at the end of the day in order to leave early.
- Employers are only required to provide or permit rest periods; employees are not required to take them, and employers are not penalized when employees freely waive their break time.
- Hourly employees working shifts of at least five hours must receive an unpaid 30-minute meal period in which they are completely relieved of all duties and free to leave the work premises.
- The meal period can be waived by the employee for shifts that do not exceed six hours.
- A second such meal period is required for shifts that exceed ten hours.
- The employer is responsible for ensuring that employees take their meal period within the first five hours of work.
- An employee may not leave work a half hour early instead of taking a meal period.
- Employees must clock-out for the meal period, unless all operations cease and all employees take their break at the same time.
Employees are entitled to one hour's wages at their regular rate of pay for every day the employer fails to provide a meal period. If employees are required to remain at the job site in order to be available to wait on customers or perform other work but must still clock out for their meal periods, they are entitled to payment at their regular rate of pay for the meal period plus the premium of one hour's pay.
Employees are also entitled to one hour's premium pay at their regular rate of pay for every day on which they were not provided one or more paid rest periods which they did not waive.
An employer who fails to reimburse employees for expenses incurred in carrying out their employment is liable for the amount of all necessary expenses, interest, attorney's fees and costs. For example, employees who use their automobiles in carrying out job functions must be provided a mileage or other reimbursement to cover all driving expenses, including gas and insurance. This requirement covers all expenses incurred in the scope of employment. The purpose of the statute is to protect employees from suffering any expense as a direct consequence of the performance of the employee's duties.
Wage and hour violations can impact your sense of well-being as well as your pocketbook. If you feel that you have been denied your lawful entitlement to rest or meal periods or expense reimbursements, contact the Carter Law Firm for a free consultation.