A California state court granted class action status to a case with claims alleging that Apple failed to give its employees sufficient breaks for meals and rests, occasionally disallowing breaks completely. Nearly 21,000 current and former Apple employees are taking part in the lawsuit.
State law in California requires all employers to give a 30-minute break for lunch within the first five hours of an employee’s work day, as well as a 10-minute break for rest at least every four hours. Shifts that last between six and ten hours are mandated to have a second break under state law as well. The evidence in the case shows that Apple was not providing those mandated second breaks.
The lawsuit was originally filed in early 2012, with the case covering violations between December 2007 and August 2012. Apple created a new policy in August 2012 to comply with California law. However, evidence indicates that Apple not only failed to have a policy to give breaks as mandated under state law, but also failed to compensate employees for missing breaks for meals or rest. California law states that employers must pay workers an extra hour’s wages when these breaks are either not provided or not given in a timely manner.
Some experts familiar with the case say it could be worth tens of millions of dollars.
Companies failing to provide timely (or any) breaks is an unfortunately common problem in a wide variety of industries, from technology and retail to manufacturing and construction. When these violations occur, you have the ability to speak up and make a difference.