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no lunch breaks

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yob

Junior Member
What is the name of your state? California

I am an exempt employee, and have been working for my employer for 19 months.
In my contract I am paid an annual salary for a 40 hour work week. Before I signed the contract it was verbally understood (but not defined in the contract) that I would have an hour lunch for each day that I worked. I work 4 ten hour days during each week.
For the first 12 months I was not given time to take any lunches. I did not object intitially as I am used to working long hours. After 12 months, I started taking some hourly lunches, usually 2 out of the 4 days. I recently became pregnant and now take an hour lunch every day that I work. My boss was clearly not happy about me taking a lunch, but has not objected. My question is, am I entitled to any back pay or days off for the 12 months that I did not take a lunch?

Also, if I work from 9am-7pm, but stay to finish work until 8pm, my boss doesn't say anything, and does not credit me for the extra hour that I worked. But if I ask to leave at 6pm for a baby class, he expects me to make up the extra hour some other day. Is this legal?
 


pattytx

Senior Member
Yes. Your employer sets your hours even as an exempt employee. If he wants you to make up the hours you miss, he can, as long as he does not dock your pay if you don't. You may think it unfair, and perhaps it is, but it is not illegal.

And the employer in the private sector is not required by law, ever, to provide any additional pay nor compensatory time for "extra hours" to an exempt employee.
 

yob

Junior Member
Thanks for your reply. It is my understanding that even exempt employees in the state of CA are entitled to a lunch break depending on how many hours they have worked that day. Is that correct? So there is no recourse that I wasn't provided time for a lunch break for a year?
 

cbg

I'm a Northern Girl
It's unclear to me whether the law requires all employees to receive a lunch break in CA, or just non-exempts. But even if it's all employees, you are not entitled by law to an hour lunch, only a half hour.

You can contact the state DOL for clarification.
 

pattytx

Senior Member
My understanding has always been that the meal period required in CA is only applicable to nonexempt employees, but I have nothing on that in writing. Please post back with what the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement advises you on this. Thanks.
 

yob

Junior Member
I will give them a call on Monday to verify, and let you know.
Thank you so much for your prompt responses, I really appreciate them!
 

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