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Important Questions Answered about Meal Periods – Part I

Lunch-Break

Q: Receptionist receives a 30 minute meal period but the employer asks the receptions to eat lunch at his desk in case the phone rings or clients arrive. Do you have to pay the receptionist even if no one calls or comes in during that time?

A: Yes, as an employer, you would have to pay the receptionist for the full 30 minutes even if no client needs assistance. If you require employees to do work, whether active or inactive, while they are eating lunch, they aren’t completely relieved of duty and they must be paid. Under the federal Fair Labor Standards ACT FLSA), an unpaid meal period must generally be  least 30 minutes without interruption and the employee must be FULLY relieved of all duties for the purpose of eating regular meals.

Q: An employee sits at his desk to eat his lunch during his 30 minute meal period. If his phone rings and she answers it, what is the employer’s obligations for paying the employee?

A: If the employee’s meal is interrupted as explained above, the employee should be paid for the full 30 minutes. It’s best practice to have the employee eat his lunch away from his work station so the employee can be fully relieved of all duties for the purpose of eating regular meals. Employees should also report interrupted lunch breaks so that they can be paid for the time.

The Law Offices of Payab & Associates is a Los Angeles based law firm with more than 17 years of experience in employment cases. Our office has successfully litigated many complex disputes including wrongful termination, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, wage and labor disputes, and retaliation cases.

Are you or anyone you know been discriminated at work? Contact the Law Offices of Payab & Associates @ (800) 401-4466 or visit http://payablaw.com/ if you have any questions regarding your rights at the workplace.

How Long of A Meal Period Are You Entitled To?

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According to California law, an employer may not employ an employee for a work period of more than five hours per day without providing the employee with a meal period of no less than 30 minutes. However, if the total work period day of the employee is no more than 6 hours, the meal period may be waived by mutual consent of both the employee and the employer.

A second meal period of not less than 30 minutes is required if an employee works more than 10 hours per day. However, if the total hours worked is no more than 12 hours, the second meal period may be waived by mutual consent of both the employee and the employer only if the first meal period was not waived.

The Law Offices of Payab & Associates is a Los Angeles based law firm with more than 17 years of experience in employment cases. Our office has successfully litigated many complex disputes including wrongful termination, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, wage and labor disputes, and retaliation cases.

Are you or anyone you know been deprived of your meal period? Contact the Law Offices of Payab & Associates @ (800) 401-4466 or visit http://employmentlawyersla.com/ if you have any questions regarding your rights at the workplace.

All You Need to Know About Rest Periods

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California law requires that employers allow employees to take a 10-minute paid rest period for every 4 hours worked. The rest period should be given in the middle of the work period as is practicable. If the circumstances of the work prevent the employer from giving the break at the preferred time, the employee must still receive the required break, but may take it another point in the work period.

It is not permissible to choose to work through both of your rest periods so that you can leave your job 20 minutes early or arrive late.

If an employer does not authorize or permit a rest period, the employer must pay the employee one hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of pay for each workday that the rest period is not provided.

The Law Offices of Payab & Associates is a Los Angeles based law firm with more than 17 years of experience in employment cases. Our office has successfully litigated many complex disputes including wrongful termination, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, wage and labor disputes, and retaliation cases.

Are you or anyone you know been deprived of your rest periods? Contact the Law Offices of Payab & Associates @ (800) 401-4466 or visit http://employmentlawyersla.com/ if you have any questions regarding your rights at the workplace.

Wage Violation Red Flags

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Last year was a record year for wage violations as there were 8,000 lawsuits regarding timekeeping, overtime, and meal breaks.

Some notable red flags to be aware of include:
• Same in/out times for almost every day.
• Same out/in time for meal periods every day. These are clear signs that there could noncompliance with meal periods.
• No out/in times for meal periods.
• Time punches are always at the exact time that the shift begins.
• Time punches for all or most employees are almost the same exact time. An example of this is when one employee is punching in all employees.
• Automatic meal period deductions. Many companies settle this type of litigation because it is hard for employers to prove that employees ate lunch.
• Clocking in early or late. Be sure that rules treat employees equitably.
• Rounding. Make sure you are not always rounding down.
• An employee is paid for fewer hours than shown on his or her time records.
• The overtime pay rate is 1.5 times the employee’s hourly rate, but the pay stub shows the employee was paid a shift differential or bonus.

It is important to be mindful of these employment practices to prevent costly noncompliance lawsuits.

The Law Offices of Payab & Associates is a Los Angeles based law firm with more than 17 years of experience in employment cases. Our office has successfully litigated many complex disputes including wrongful termination, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, wage and labor disputes, and retaliation cases.

Questions about your rights at the workplace? Contact the Law Offices of Payab & Associates @ (800) 401-4466 or visit http://employmentlawyersla.com/