Legal Question in Employment Law in California

I work at a restaurant in california. I was wondering if it is legal that my manager obligates us take an unpaid meal break if we work less than 5 hours per shift?

Asked on 12/27/12, 4:59 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Terry A. Nelson Nelson & Lawless


It is certainly not a crime.

He is following the rules and guidelines of the Labor Code.

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Answered on 12/28/12, 12:36 am
Timothy McCormick Schneider, Holtz & Hutchison

Actually they are not exactly following the code if they are giving you a meal break for under five hours, since a meal break is required only for a shift of five hours or more. However, there is nothing in the law that PROHIBITS an employer from providing and requiring a meal break on shifts of under five hours. If you are only paid minimum wage or close to it, the only possible issue would be split shift pay. I'm not sure if the half hour break would qualify you for that, but as I said, unless you make very close to minimum wage, it doesn't apply anyway, since the latest Cal. Supreme Court interpretation of that requirement is that it phases out at an hourly pay rate just barely above minimum wage.

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Answered on 12/28/12, 2:06 pm

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