California law requires employers to provide at least a 30 minute meal break to employees working a shift longer than 10 hours. An employee working longer than 10 hours is entitled to a second 30 minute meal break. Further, employers are generally required to provide employees with a 10 minute rest break for every four hours worked.
However, these requirements do not mean that employers must ensure that employees take their meal and rest breaks. In Hernandez v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., the California Court of Appeal rejected a class action suit premised on the theory that an employer is obligated to ensure that employees take their breaks. The Hernandez court noted that California law prohibits employers from pressuring to skip breaks, from declining to schedule breaks, from establishing an environment discouraging or preventing employees from taking breaks. The court found that these prohibitions were not tantamount to a requirement that employers make employees take their breaks. Further, the court noted that employers with numerous employees, or who are not in contact with employees throughout the day, have no practical way to force each employee to take his or her break.