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The Turley & Mara Law Firm, APLC

California Lunch Break Law For Truck Drivers & Delivery Drivers

Comments (4)

Here's Some Advice

Before i get into the details about meal breaks, I want you to know that I understand that there is no one who works harder than these men and women. They provide for the rest of us and they bust their butts while they're doing it. And the one thing that ticks me off more then anything, is seeing these hard working folks like yourself getting ripped off by the companies they work for.

My best advice is to research your rights as a delivery driver. I recommend you read my free book, California Truck and Delivery Driver Wage Theft: The Ultimate Straight Talk Guide To Getting Your Hard Earned Wages Back. It is full of useful information to help you earn your money back. You can buy it on Amazon, but we will send you a free copy and cover shipping.


Meal Periods In California For Truck Drivers, Delivery Drivers 

Under California wage and hour law, your employer must provide you a meal period of at least 30 minutes if you work for a period more than five hours in a day.  And your employer must provide you a second meal period when you work more than ten hours in a day.  The key here is that your employer must actually relieve you of all duties. Based upon what we see, this is where California truck companies and delivery companies don’t satisfy their duty to workers.

The California Supreme Court directly addressed this in the landmark case - Brinker v. Superior Court - which I am one of the lawyers representing the 100,000 Brinker employees.  The Brinker Court held that your employer may not undermine a formal policy of providing meal breaks by pressuring employees to perform their duties in ways that omit breaks.

The Brinker Court held that California wage orders and governing statute do not allow your  employer to  exert coercion against the taking of, creating incentives to forego, or otherwise encouraging the skipping of legally protected breaks.

In order to satisfy it’s duty to provide you a meal period, your employer must do the following:

    1.     Relieve you of all duties.
    2.     Relinquish control over all of your activities.
    3.     Permit you a reasonable opportunity to take an uninterrupted 30-minute meal break.
    4.     Not impede or discourage you from taking a meal period.
    5.     No provide you an incentive to forego a meal period.

What you are going to find is that many, many California employers simply do not meet this standard.  We have found this in almost all industries in California, but especially in the truck driver and delivery driver industry.  Time and again we have found California employers not meeting these standards to drivers in California.


An Hour’s Pay For Every Violation

Under California law you are entitled to an hours pay every time your employer fails to meet their duty to provide you a meal period.  These are called damages under the law. These damages (read: money) can really add up.  

Here is a quick example, say you worked 260 days and you were not provided your first meal period and you earned $18 an hour.

    260 x $18 = $4,680

In addition, if your employer automatically deducts a half hours pay from you each day (called “auto-deduct”); then you are entitled to get that half’s hour pay and if you work over 8 hours that day, you are entitled to getting time and one half. 

This is just for one year for one single type of violation.  In most cases we are talking four to five years or more. In addition, drivers are commonly entitled to an hours pay for rest period violations, waiting time penalties, auto-deduct wages, etc.  So be sure to check out these other sections.


Not Getting Your Breaks?

Give us a call (619) 234-2833

William Turley
“When I seek out professional advice, I don’t want B.S., I want it straight up. I figure you do also.”
My employer just made it mandatory for us to log off for a second 30 minute break, before we complete hour 10th hour.. Most of us work 12 hours per shift.. This now cuts our pay this 30 minute period, if we clocked out at the 12 hour mark as usual.. They are claiming it's CA state law.. I read the CA statement, and it says "if we work over 10 ours, we are entitled to another 30 minute break, and this break should be taken by the end of the 10th hour. It doesn't say it is mandatory. None of us want this forced on us.. In order for us to continue to make the same pay, we will now need to be at work for 12 and a half hours.. If we don't stay for this extra 30 minutes, it will cost most of us. $12.75 per shift, $63.75 per week, $276 per month, and $3300. Per year. What can we do?
Posted by William Kennedy on March 9, 2016 at 12:07 AM
can an employer force an employee to take an hour lunch here in the state of CA?
Posted by jimmy on September 15, 2015 at 04:03 PM
Question - if the driver works over 6 hours in a day but less than 8 is he required to take a 30 min meal break. If he does not take a meal break but our time sheet indicates "1/2 hour lunches will be deducted from the total daily hours unless the client initials that no lunch was taken." do we have the right to deduct this meal time if there is not client initial?
Posted by Tina Jacobson on October 7, 2014 at 03:35 PM
How can an employer give you this time to take a lunch if you are on a log for 10 - 14 hours, does that not mean that your are still on duty as you are still on the log duty time time? relieving us of all duty would be allowing us to be able to go/do anything we want during that time would it not? Not be forced to be available to leave at a moments time during that off duty time.
Posted by John on May 4, 2014 at 12:36 AM

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