Can I Sue My Employer for Not Giving Me Breaks?


In California, employees can be categorized as exempt or non-exempt employees. These different classes of employees are handled differently under California employment law, and they are entitled to different benefits during their shift, including breaks. If your employer is denying you breaks, you may be able to take legal action.

Exempt employees are not entitled to scheduled breaks, but must meet certain standards to be considered exempt. These standards are:

  • The employee receives at least twice the state minimum wage for full-time employment.
  • The employee’s duties are primarily administrative, executive, or professional tasks.
  • The employee’s duties require the use of independent judgment and discretion.

If your job and wages do not match the above description, you are most likely a non-exempt employee. As a non-exempt employee, you are entitled to a set number of breaks, depending on the length of your shift. These breaks include paid rest breaks and unpaid lunch breaks. During your breaks, you are not permitted to work.

If you are denied these breaks, your employer can face the consequences. When your employer violates rest break laws, they are required to pay you an additional hour of your wages for each day the violation occurred. Certain industries, like healthcare and manufacturing, may have exemptions, so it is important to speak to an employment lawyer to determine if you have a case.

If your employer does not provide rest breaks or additional compensation for missed breaks, you may be able to take legal action against them. If you feel you may have a case, you shouldn’t hesitate to get in contact with our Hollister employment law attorney. There are strict filing deadlines for meal and rest break violations, so you should act quickly.

Attorney Bill Marder has spent more than 20 years handling cases like yours, and he has the knowledge and experience to help you receive the compensation you deserve. Speak to our team to learn how we can help you protect your rights as an employee.

Contact our offices to request a free consultation.