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lunch breaks California

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  • lunch breaks California

    My boss got upset because I decided to go out to lunch, she said that because they pay for our lunch and it is not deducted that I need to take my lunch inside the company and at my desk, is this legal?
    She said thet if i decide to go out to lunch she will deduct it off my pay, I have been here for 3 years my lunch has always been paid for, and i have never taken a real lunch break, because they said i need to take it at my desk, the phones ring people walk in, my boss calls me etc... i know that if my break is interuppted they need to pay me for that 30 minutes, but if i decide to go out for lunch(around the corner) does she have a right to tell me no and that i have to take it unside company offices.

    Last edited by rox; 05-07-2007, 09:07 AM.

  • #2
    This is from the Department of Labor's website:

    Meal period requirement: "½ hour, after 5 hours, except when workday will be completed in 6 hours or less and there is mutual employer/employee consent to waive meal period. On-duty meal period counted as time worked and permitted only when nature of work prevents relief from all duties and there is written agreement between parties. Employee may revoke agreement at any time."

    This means that you must be given a duty-free meal period of at least 30 minutes after 5 hours of work, UNLESS you have a written agreement with your employer that you will take an "on-duty" meal period. Have you signed such an agreement? If so, according to this law, you make revoke that agreement at any time.

    There are slightly different requirements for the motion picture industry. Additionally, California has paid rest period requirements as well.


    • #3
      lunch break

      I understand all that but does she have a right to tell me, that because she pays for it i have to take my lunch inside company property?


      • #4
        Whether employer pays for your lunch or not, they can require you stay on the property. If you stay on the property and don't work during your lunch then it would be unpaid. Eating and working through your lunch, the employer pays.
        Somedays you're the windshield and somedays you're the bug.


        • #5
          If the employer requires an employee to stay on the employers property for a meal period the time is compensable. The employee at that point is still subject to the control of the employer.

          This is a highly debated issue in California . The Ca supreme court just ruled on this matter in April in Murphy vs Kenneth Cole Productions.

          Labor code section 512 and the IWC wage orders sometimes allows for an on duty meal period if the employer qualifies and The EE agrees

          Also a meal period waiver can be introduced if the EE and ER agree for a shift not to exceed six hours.Revocable at any time by the EE.

          If the employer requires the EE to stay on the premises the EE is entitled to be paid ( no meal period deduction from daily hours) and is subject to the one hour of additional pay required by law for failing to provide a duty free meal period.
          Last edited by Interceptor; 05-08-2007, 08:51 PM.


          • #6
            rox: I understand all that but does she have a right to tell me, that because she pays for it i have to take my lunch inside company property?

            Cut and pasted right off the DLSE website

            Q 4. Can my employer require that I stay on its premises during my meal period?

            A. Yes, your employer can require that you remain on its premises during your meal period, even if you are relieved of all work duties. However if that occurs, you are being denied your time for your own purposes and in effect remain under the employer's control and thus, the meal period must be paid. Minor exceptions to this general rule exist under IWC Order 5-2001 regarding healthcare workers. Pursuant to the Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders, if you are required to eat on the premises, a suitable place for that purpose must be designated. "Suitable" means a sheltered place with facilities available for securing hot food and drink or for heating food or drink, and for consuming such food and drink.
            Barry S. Phillips, CPA

            IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: This response is intended to provide general information and written for educational purposes only. It does not establish a client relationship. This communication is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding tax-related penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to any party any matters addressed herein.


            • #7
              This is interesting Barry.

              Would the one hour of pay apply? The employee may not be performing work duties but is not duty free either. Kind of stuck at work.

              I wonder if the DLSE will update the web site?

              Personally.... I would request the one hour pay for failure to provide a duty free meal period that does not require myself to stay at work.

              I guess it boils down to the exact definition of " duty free" placing a stipulation on a meal period that is the employees time is not exactly duty free with possibly no on duty meal period agreement.

              OP check with the DLSE there is alot of confusion over this matter with the recent supreme court ruling.
              Last edited by Interceptor; 05-08-2007, 09:19 PM.


              • #8
                Lunch break in California

                You guys are awesome!

                Thank you.


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