Most employees are entitled to at least a 30 minute meal or lunch break during their workday, and they are usually not paid for this rest period. For hourly employees, some employers choose to automatically deduct wages for the time spent on a lunch break. The ability for employers to automatically deduct wages is permitted by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
However, employees sometimes elect to work through their lunch instead of opting for the allotted 30 minutes away from their work station, or in some cases, there simply is not enough time to take a 30 minute or longer meal break. Employees who choose to do this can lose wages they are entitled to if their employer automatically deducts pay for meal periods.
The regulations for automatic lunch break deductions that are outlined in the FLSA specify that there must be a way for employers to reverse a deduction. Ultimately, the goal is that all recorded work hours are accurately reported, and each employee receive the wages they earned. Employers can violate FLSA regulations if they do not allow for the break they are deducting time for, if they fail to reverse a deduction upon employee request, or if they deduct for additional time outside of the allotted breaks.
How to Address a Wage and Hour Violation Related to Automatic Deductions
When employees choose to work through their lunch break, they choose to relinquish a rest period in order to complete more work, or to earn a little extra money. This time spent working is just as valid as every other hour on the clock, and should be justly compensated. Employers who fail to pay their workers for any time spent working, either intentionally or due to a lack of oversight, deny their workers the wages they are entitled to.
If you discover a discrepancy between your wages and hours worked, and believe your employer is not compensating you correctly, contact Donati Law, PLLC. We represent the rights of workers in and around the Memphis area.
For a free consultation with our lawyers, call (901) 209-5500 or use our contact form.