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REI Wage Suit Over Meal Breaks Settled in California

Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) has agreed to settle a class action suit brought by its employees in California for violations of the California Labor Code. The suit was settled for $2.5 million, and would provide pro-rated payments to several thousand non-exempt employees. Among a variety of other wage issues, the plaintiffs in this case filed suit against REI for its failure to allow employees to take timely, uninterrupted meal and rest breaks as required by law.

The California Labor Code requires employers in the state to allow employees to take at least a 30-minute meal break if they work five hours or more per day. A second 30-minute meal period is additionally required if an employee works more than ten hours a day. Employees must be relieved of all duties during these meal breaks, and employers must relinquish control over their activities. Additionally, employers are prohibited from impeding or discouraging employees from taking their meal breaks. If the employee is required to stay at the work site during the meal break, then that period must also be paid even if they are relieved of all duties.

If these requirements are not followed, then California law will consider the meal period to be on-duty time. Employers will then be required to count that time as an hour worked for which they are required to compensate employees at his or her regular pay rate.  However, if the employee chooses to continue working even if the employer has relieved him or her of all duties and relinquished control over all work activities, then that period is not compensable time.

Employers must provide their employees with meal breaks as required by the California Labor Code – otherwise, they must compensate them for this period. Dejban Law can help you vindicate your wage rights if you believe your employer has deprived you of break time or compensation that you are entitled to. Contact us now by email at info@dejbanlaw.com or by phone us at (818) 325-3820 for a free and confidential initial consultation.