Employee Rights Attorney

Mission Viejo, California

Q: Our employer would like to eliminate the employee morning and afternoon breaks. We do not work for four continuous hours, so the employer says we don’t need the break. We have an hour lunch break; however, the employees are under the assumption that if we work an eight-and-one-half hour day with an hour for lunch, we are still entitled to a 15-minute morning and afternoon break. Is this correct?

A: Employment law specialist Don D. Sessions, of Mission Viejo, provides this answer: “Most employees are subject to the wage-hour and other workplace rules enforced by the California Labor Commissioner’s office. Under such rules, you are not totally right, but you are more correct than the employer.

“The employer is required to provide you with paid, 10-minute breaks in the morning and afternoon. Ideally this should come in the middle of each work period.

“By failing to provide you with this break, your employer can be fined $50 per employee per violation. It also could be in breach of the employer’s contract with you to follow applicable laws.

“It is improper to retaliate against you if you complain about this illegal situation.”