If you’re a California employer, how well do you keep track of your employees’ meal and rest periods? California law requires that employees be provided at least a ten-minute rest period every four hours, and a 30-minute meal period after five hours. Non-exempt employees who work more than eight hours in a day, and more than 40 hours in a week, must be paid overtime. Employers are required to maintain accurate records of employees’ timesheets and pay. It sounds simple, but the devil is in the details. If you have employees, it is important to put policies in place to ensure that all employees are taking their breaks and being paid for any overtime work.
If an employee believes he or she was deprived of meal and rest periods or not paid for overtime hours worked, the employee can file a complaint with the California Labor Commissioner. The Labor Commissioner’s Office, also known as the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), is the forum for adjudication of such claims. Often, this kind of complaint is filed after an employee is terminated. Employers should realize that, regardless of the reasons for termination, in a wage and hour claim the deck is stacked against them from the start – it is the employer’s burden to show that the employee took breaks and was properly paid.
CK&E attorneys routinely advise clients about navigating California’s complex employer workplace requirements, and advocate for clients in disputes before the California Labor Commissioner and California state and federal courts.