Employment Law Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law and HR

Mar 14, 2011

CALIFORNIA: Rest and meal period violations warrant up to two penalty payments per day

Wage and Hour 

Rest and meal period violations just got pricier, thanks to a recent decision by a California Appeals Court. Labor Code section 226.7 assesses a penalty of one hour of pay (called a “premium payment”) against an employer who fails to provide rest or meal periods to its employees. In a recent court case, a group of UPS employees sued the company for rest and meal period violations. This case resulted in a decision by the court that for each day of violation of the rest and meal period rules, the employer could be penalized up to two premium payments per day—one for the rest period violation and one for the meal period violation (United Parcel Service, Inc. v. Superior Court, Cal App, Feb. 2011).

Tips:  This decision means that rest and meal period violations can be twice as expensive as we initially thought and if the violations span multiple employees over a period of time, an employer can face some significant financial penalties. To make sure you are complying with your rest and meal period obligations, check out Vigilant’s Legal Guide, “Breaks and Meal Periods—California” (2499) and contact your Vigilant staff representative with questions.