A class action lawsuit brought by a group of pharmacists working for Albertson’s may receive a $1.6 million settlement. In the class action lawsuit, the pharmacists alleged that their employer violated California meal break laws and, after repeated instances of this behavior, the employees filed a class action lawsuit.
Albertson’s, a grocery store chain now under the management of Safeway Inc., was accused of failing to give their pharmacists off-duty meal breaks. A string of wage and hour claims were filed last December prior to the class certification, many of them argued violations of California meal break laws.
The initial allegations in the meal break violation lawsuit stipulated that the company denied overtime pay, rest breaks, and meal breaks. Allegedly, the company consistently required pharmacists to work more than eight hours per day or over 40 hours each week. Any non-exempt pharmacist who worked for Albertson’s in California between March 22, 2013, and the preliminary approval date may be affected by the decision.
California Rest Break and Meal Break Laws
For non-exempted workers in California, state regulations pertaining to meal breaks offer broader protections than federal regulations. If a non-exempt employee works longer than five hours in a workday they are entitled to a 30-minute meal break and a 10-minute break for every four hours worked.
If a court determines that an employer violated California rest or meal break laws, the employer is responsible for paying its employees an extra hour of pay for every day during which a violation occurred. This is in addition to a separate hour of pay for every rest break violation.
California labor laws also require that a rest break be uninterrupted, and the rest break must be paid time. A shift of at least 3.5 hours within one day warrants one rest break, a 6-hour shift entitles the worker to a second rest break, and a ten-hour shift entitles a worker to a third rest break. Labor laws also require that an employee is given a 30-minute meal break prior to the end of the employee’s fifth hour working. A second meal break may be required if the employee works more than 10 hours in a day. The meal break laws state that the rest break and meal break should be separate from one another.
It’s important to realize that not every industry is subject to these rules. Exceptions exist for manufacturing, baking industries, group homes, motion picture industries, healthcare, and construction.
Employees who believe their employer has violated meal break laws may wish to consult with an experienced labor law attorney. Labor law claims are subject to a statute of limitations which limits the amount of time an employee has to file a claim. A legal professional can help employees navigate the complex legal system.
Obtain a free case evaluation of your potential labor law violation lawsuit by filling out the form on this page.