I work at a small-privately owned business. I am scheduled from 8am until 5pm. Throughout those 9 hours I am constantly handling customers and answering phones. I am not given the 1 hour lunch break that is promised, but it is taken out of my paycheck. I have not signed a waiver to get rid of my lunch break and i have been shorted on nearly all of my paychecks. I live in California and I just would like to know what step I should take so I can get all of my hours accounted for.
2 Answers from Attorneys
You should consult with an employment attorney immediately.
California law provides that non-exempt (hourly) employees must receive a 30-minute, uninterrupted meal break that must begin before the end of the fifth hour of work. If the employer fails to provide the meal period, it must pay the employee a penalty of one EXTRA hour of pay. California law also requires employers to pay employees for all hours worked.
Thus, your employer must pay you for the hour deducted from your paycheck, PLUS an extra hour of pay for each day you did not receive your meal period. You also are owed an additional hour of pay if your employer did not allow you to take two 10-minute, uninterrupted rest periods throughout the day. Finally, because you work nine hours per day, your last hour worked every day should be paid as overtime (time-and-a-half).
There are also various penalties that California law imposes upon employers who fail to pay their employees correctly. California law takes worker protection very seriously!
As stated above, you should consult with an experienced California employment lawyer regarding your specific situation to determine how to proceed going forward.
Good luck to you!
Eisenberg & Associates
3580 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1260
Los Angeles, California 90010
Keep a record of your time (keep the record at home.)
Send an email to your employer (written evidence) asking for payment of wages owed - provide the dates, times, amounts, etc.)
Your employer is simply required to "provide the opportunity" for you to take at least 30 minutes for a duty free meal period and 2 paid 10 minute breaks. If not, you are owed one hour for EACH violation.
If your employer won't pay what is owed, have an employment law attorney write a demand letter. If you are retaliated against for asserting your rights, you would have a case for unlawful retaliation in the workplace. Call an employment law attorney to discuss. 949-481-6909.