Can an employer tell you to write in your time card that you took your legally required breaks even though you didn’t?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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Can an employer tell you to write in your time card that you took your legally required breaks even though you didn’t?

My wife works for a restaurant and her employer doesnt let them take breaks due to the old no one is there to relieve you excuse. She works 11 hours with no break at all some days/nights. She says she is fine with this

agreement but I feel she, as well as the other waitresses, are being bullied into working for free. If you don’t write in your breaks you would be fired she says. The owner has already been sued for this before but got legal advise and this is the new system shes implemented in the last 5 years my wife has worked there. This

is already a shady business by the way. Hand written checks with mistakes being erased with white out. Who is to say that the owner doesn’t white everything out that was paid with cash and pocket said tax free revenue. Nightly money drops with said money getting stolen in the parking lot so my wife doesnt get a check for 3 weeks some months. They have been in business for over 30 years and it’s a pretty well known spot with lots of customers.

Asked on August 8, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

What you describe is illegal: employees who are entitled to breaks must get them; employees must be paid for all work done, including overtime as applicable; and tippable employees must get their share of all tips, including those paid in cash; etc. Your wife seems to have grounds to file several different complaints with the state department of labor, if she chose, and may be entitled to some back compensation.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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