You Can’t Make this Stuff Up!
A client was recently served with a labor commissioner complaint alleging that a former employee was denied 976 ten-minute rest breaks over the prior three years. The complaint seeks penalties exceeding $20,000. What galls me is that the labor commissioner actually accepted this guy’s claim. The former employee worked alone (on remote worksites) and could take breaks whenever he wanted. From the time he left the office in the morning until he returned each afternoon he had little if no contact with anyone from the office. It is ludicrous to believe that a grown man, working alone, never took ten minutes of personal time for three years. Unfortunately this is a fairly common claim. California’s labor laws are a mess, they’re biased against employers, and generally enforced without any common sense. When faced with this type of claim employers have two choices: (1) pay the extortion money or, (2) spend almost as much time and money proving the obvious absurdity of the claim. Pretty pathetic choices.