meal

Important Questions Answered about Meal Periods – Part I

Lunch-Break

Q: Receptionist receives a 30 minute meal period but the employer asks the receptions to eat lunch at his desk in case the phone rings or clients arrive. Do you have to pay the receptionist even if no one calls or comes in during that time?

A: Yes, as an employer, you would have to pay the receptionist for the full 30 minutes even if no client needs assistance. If you require employees to do work, whether active or inactive, while they are eating lunch, they aren’t completely relieved of duty and they must be paid. Under the federal Fair Labor Standards ACT FLSA), an unpaid meal period must generally be  least 30 minutes without interruption and the employee must be FULLY relieved of all duties for the purpose of eating regular meals.

Q: An employee sits at his desk to eat his lunch during his 30 minute meal period. If his phone rings and she answers it, what is the employer’s obligations for paying the employee?

A: If the employee’s meal is interrupted as explained above, the employee should be paid for the full 30 minutes. It’s best practice to have the employee eat his lunch away from his work station so the employee can be fully relieved of all duties for the purpose of eating regular meals. Employees should also report interrupted lunch breaks so that they can be paid for the time.

The Law Offices of Payab & Associates is a Los Angeles based law firm with more than 17 years of experience in employment cases. Our office has successfully litigated many complex disputes including wrongful termination, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, wage and labor disputes, and retaliation cases.

Are you or anyone you know been discriminated at work? Contact the Law Offices of Payab & Associates @ (800) 401-4466 or visit http://payablaw.com/ if you have any questions regarding your rights at the workplace.

Wage Violation Red Flags

meal_period_violation

Last year was a record year for wage violations as there were 8,000 lawsuits regarding timekeeping, overtime, and meal breaks.

Some notable red flags to be aware of include:
• Same in/out times for almost every day.
• Same out/in time for meal periods every day. These are clear signs that there could noncompliance with meal periods.
• No out/in times for meal periods.
• Time punches are always at the exact time that the shift begins.
• Time punches for all or most employees are almost the same exact time. An example of this is when one employee is punching in all employees.
• Automatic meal period deductions. Many companies settle this type of litigation because it is hard for employers to prove that employees ate lunch.
• Clocking in early or late. Be sure that rules treat employees equitably.
• Rounding. Make sure you are not always rounding down.
• An employee is paid for fewer hours than shown on his or her time records.
• The overtime pay rate is 1.5 times the employee’s hourly rate, but the pay stub shows the employee was paid a shift differential or bonus.

It is important to be mindful of these employment practices to prevent costly noncompliance lawsuits.

The Law Offices of Payab & Associates is a Los Angeles based law firm with more than 17 years of experience in employment cases. Our office has successfully litigated many complex disputes including wrongful termination, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, wage and labor disputes, and retaliation cases.

Questions about your rights at the workplace? Contact the Law Offices of Payab & Associates @ (800) 401-4466 or visit http://employmentlawyersla.com/

Tips for Ensuring Meal and Rest Break Compliance

rest-period

Many California employers face lawsuits for meal and rest break compliance. There’s a lot that can be done to avoid accidentally not providing employees with the meal and rest breaks they’re entitled to. Here are some tips for employers to help ensure that meal and rest breaks are taken appropriately:

– Evaluate systems to ensure that they don’t hinder employees from taking rest and meal breaks. For example, make sure that employees are not being schedule too much.
– Schedule breaks and relief rather than relying on employees to do it without prompting.
– Ensure that employees record the time out and time in for the meal period. Note that in the absence of proof that an employee took a meal period (ie. clocking out), it will be presumed they did not. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure they have the opportunity to take the meal break.
– Have a complaint written “on-duty meal period” agreement on file.
– Set up a system for employees to report violations.
– Track and discipline violations.
– Talk to the employees who miss breaks. The key here is to show the employees that they have a responsibility to take breaks they have been provided and that they cannot just not take it to try to get the premium pay, and doing so will result in disciplinary action.

Taking the above precautions will ensure employers will face less meal and rest break violations.

The Law Offices of Payab & Associates is a Los Angeles based law firm with more than 17 years of experience in employment cases. Our office has successfully litigated many complex disputes including wrongful termination, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, wage and labor disputes, and retaliation cases

Are you or anyone you know not been given your meal or rest breaks? Contact the Law Offices of Payab & Associates @ (800) 401-4466 or visit http://employmentlawyersla.com/ if you have any questions regarding your rights at the workplace.