Can I sue my manager for declining my meal break?

Today I want to work at 9 am and it was super busy because football is on so Buffalo Wild Wangs is super busy and then as a host I was the only person there because we were understaffed there should at least be 2 of us but anyways I was only person seating people taking orders from takeout running food back-and-forth cleaning tables and then I asked for my 30 minute lunch since I worked 5hours and then my manager declined me he said no you can only take a 10 minute and then he said you should’ve taken your 30 minutes at 11:30 am but it was so busy I didn’t have a chance to take one so then I went outside and took my 10 minute break at 2:20 pm and he was timing me and he was like it’s been more than 10 minutes already you need to go back inside and I look at him and I’m like OK like really you’re being that dramatic mind you, I’ve been working at a fast pace restaurant with not a lot of help and I didn’t even get a chance to eat a decent lunch and then he was like I don’t need people who don’t work here I don’t need lazy people if you don’t want to work then you could just go and then I was like all right then I’m going just check me out and then he checked me out and clocked me out and he was like I’m going to make sure you never work at Buffalo wild wings and that you’re never going to get hired back but you can go now.

Asked on September 18, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If you were paid for working during the break, you cannot sue them--civil courts (that is, lawsuits) provide compensation for costs or losses you incurred, but if you were paid, there was no loss. If you were not paid for the work you did, you could theoretically sue for the amount you should have been paid for that amount of work, which would not even be worth a small claims lawsuit.


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