Rest and Meal Break Lawyers to Fight for You
Employees are entitled to a host of protections including minimum wage, reasonably safe workplace conditions, meal periods, and rest periods. These protections are available under both federal and state laws and can be enforced when employers fail to abide by them. Among the most commonly observed offenses are rest and meal break violations. It’s important for non-exempt employees to know what rights have been granted to them by the state and federal government. You should call the experienced employment law attorneys of Walton Law to determine whether you have a claim.
Suing for Break Violations as an Exempt or Non-Exempt Employee
Employees are entitled to important benefits such as Social Security, disability benefits, Unemployment Insurance, workers’ compensation, meal and rest breaks, and minimum wage. Importantly, employers must provide all non-exempt employees with designated periods for both meal and rest breaks. Employees, unlike independent contractors and non-exempt employees:
- Are not free from control or direction of their employer in connection with performance of their work
- Do not perform work outside their employer’s usual business
- Do not engage in an independently established trade, business, or occupation of the same nature as the work they do for their employer
An Employer’s Legal Obligations to Provide a Meal Period
Under the current law, employer must provide a reasonable opportunity for a non-exempt employee to take a certain number of minutes for a meal period off the clock, uninterrupted, and free of work duties whenever they work over a set number of hours in a shift. The employer must also provide a second meal period satisfying the same requirements whenever the employee works over a longer set of hours during the same shift. Though an employer must not require an employee to take their legally available meal period, they cannot take any action which discourages the employee from taking the meal period.
These laws vary by state, which makes it especially important to talk to our experienced lawyers if you believe you may have a claim.
In addition to meal breaks, private employers should also offer reasonable opportunities for all their non-exempt employees to have rest periods of a certain length for certain periods of time that are worked.
There are exceptions whereby an employer and employee can agree to waive requirements for rest and meal breaks, but these waivers must be given voluntarily and meet other criteria.
Employers are not only required to give non-exempt employees meal and rest breaks, or at least the reasonable opportunity to take them—they are also obliged not to retaliate against an employee for exercising their rights in this regard.
Compensation for Violations
If an employer fails to provide you, their employee, the reasonable opportunity to take a meal period, you may be entitled to a wage penalty for the denial. The same is true when an employer is found to have denied a reasonable opportunity to take at least one legally required rest break during a shift.
Speak to an Employment Attorney Today About Compensation
If you have been denied a meal or rest period at work, you know how frustrating and detrimental it can be to your health and well-being. Call the trustworthy employment attorneys at Walton Law, APC at (866) 338-7079 or complete our contact for a free, confidential case review. We take cases on a contingency fee basis.