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California - Question about Break / Meal Time

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  • California - Question about Break / Meal Time

    Can my employer force me to take my breaks and meal periods? I usually do take them but i will stay in my work cubical or at a near by office area. According to them, i must take my Breaks / Lunch in the parking lot or "break room".

    I did some digging and found an interesting article:

    "The California Supreme Court ultimately ruled in Brinker's favor on the most critical part of the decision – holding that employers do not have to ensure employees take their meal breaks. Once the meal period is provided, there is no duty to police meal breaks to ensure no work is being done."

    So can my HR department police the way i take my breaks? If not could you link me some sources please. Thanks!

  • #2
    They may not be legally required to police your meal breaks, but they are legally allowed to do so if they wish. They may also legally prohibit you from eating at your desk.


    • #3
      The Brinker decision provides to hold employers harmless if employees do not take their legally required breaks. It did not give you permission to refuse them.

      Breaks in CA are required by law. It is neither your choice nor your employers - you are legally required to take the breaks as set by law. Your employer HAS the right to dictate where you take them. What Brinker means in this instance is that if you are given the opportunity to take them and you don't, you can't later come back and sue the employer for not giving them to you.
      The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


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