YOUR MANDATED ATTENDANCE WITH LUNCH PROVIDED IS AN HOUR WORKED.
Your employer offers a free lunch but requires you to attend training during your usual lunch break. Your mandated lunch is an hour worked, and the hour of pay due to you is considered a “wage” due, not a penalty. See generally Murphy v. Kenneth Cole Productions, a case that held the extra lunch hour “worked” is to be counted as time worked for purposes of triggering the overtime premium in excess of 8 in a day.
If your employer requires you to “clock out” for lunch while controlling your time, that too is a problem for the employer. The employer is falsifying time records in violation of the Labor Code duty to maintain records for auditing. But what makes your situation potentially significant for trial is that these kinds of violations can go back 3 years under the statute of limitations, and the numbers of employees required to be in the training or meetings over that time, if numerous enough, could justify a “PAGA” or class action in California. Bottom line: Seek legal counsel now. The employer may not retaliate because you are pursuing your wage rights.
The Employment Law Attorney Frank Pray [employee-rights-atty.com] is replying to your posted inquiry as a public service. You should not make important decisions based on this courtesy service because the courtesy is not offered as a fully informed legal opinion. This disclaimer also applies to all my blog and website postings at employee-rights-atty.com.