Can my boss withhold my lunch break as punishment for being late?

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Can my boss withhold my lunch break as punishment for being late?

Asked on December 23, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, your employer cannot withold your lunch break as punishment for being late. The fact is that mandated lunch breaks are mandated in most states. Accordingly, an employer must provide them or it is breaking the law.
In CA, an employer may not employ an employee for a work period of more than 5 hours per day without providing the employee with a meal period of not less than 30 minutes, except that if the total work period per day of the employee is no more than 6 hours, the meal period may be waived by mutual consent of both the employer and employee.
If your employer has failed to provide your required meal period, you are to be paid 1 hour of pay at your regular rate of compensation (this is referred to as meal period premium pay) for each workday that the meal period is not provided. If your employer fails to pay this additional pay, you can file a wage claim with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.


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