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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I have a California employee who is in a customer-facing

Customer Question

I have a California employee who is in a customer-facing position, which is very active/demanding from 9 am to 12 pm; and again from 1:30 to 4 pm. We're required to provide 10-minute breaks in 1st half of day and second half of day, nominally in the middle of the 4 hr work period. But this is most inconvenient to our customers, and we have no one else to cover for this employee. Is it reasonable to ask employee to take a break at 9 am (he comes in at 8:30 am) and again after the afternoon rush, say at 4 pm (he leaves at 5 pm)?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do everything I can to answer your question.

Employers are required to make good faith efforts to ensure that workers take their rest breaks "insofar as practicable" in the middle of each work period. What is "practicable" depends on the circumstances, and would ultimately be up to a jury to decide in consideration of all the unique facts.

So the answer ultimately comes down to how confidently you can argue that it would be "impractical" to let your employee take their rest breaks in the middle of their shifts. If you would be comfortable taking that position at a labor board hearing, given the unique circumstances of the employment, then you would not be making an unsound decision by structuring rest breaks as you propose. But that is really as definitive an answer as can be given, since the "practicality" of allowing rest breaks in the middle of work periods is inherently subjective and depends on the unique employment.

I hope that you find this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.