Outten & Golden represents workers who are victims of unlawful meal and rest break violations. Under federal law, employers are not required to provide their employees with meal and rest breaks, though some do. Federal law considers short breaks (usually lasting 5 to 20 minutes) compensable work that must be included in the sum of hours worked during the workweek and considered in determining if overtime was worked. However, uninterrupted meal periods (of around 30 minutes) that are not spent working are not compensable.
Additionally, some state wage and hour laws protect workers by requiring paid rest breaks. Moreover, some states require meal breaks that can be unpaid, but if the worker must continue working through the break—such as answering telephone calls or being available for customers—then the worker has the right to be paid for that time.
Because the federal and state laws differ widely in this area, it pays to know the rights and regulations that apply to different locations. A consultation with an experienced attorney at Outten & Golden can help workers determine if they are victims of wage theft.