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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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If an employee is asked to take a break due to scheduling.

Customer Question

If an employee is asked to take a break due to scheduling. And its before 5 hours is it legal? What are the exact laws on giving lunches in San Francisco? If they refuse to take order Is it within my legal rights for me am the business to send her home for refusing to follow given direction
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question.

There is no law prohibiting an employer from requiring an employee to take their rest break prior to 5 hours into their shift. In fact, 5 hours is the absolute maximum amount of time an employee can work before taking their break, not the minimum.

Labor Code section 512 imposes the lunch break requirement and states as follows:

"An employer may not employ an employee for a work period of more than five hours per day without providing the employee with a meal period of not less than 30 minutes..."

As made evident by this section, while there is no law prohibiting an employer from requiring an employee to take an early lunch break, the employee cannot work more than 5 hours without a break. So hypothetically, if the employer required the employee to take a lunch break after one hour in an 8 hour shift, the employee would be entitled to a SECOND lunch break later in the shift, since more than 5 hours would otherwise pass without a lunch break.

So to summarize again, there is no law prohibiting an employer from requiring an early lunch break, but since an employee cannot work more than 5 hours without a lunch break, an employee who is forced to take an early lunch break may be entitled to a second lunch.

I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX this information helps you and I wish you the best.

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Finally, please bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.

Thank you and very kindest regards.

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