Everybody deserves a break, and that also applies to all employees. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and other state laws, employees are entitled to get breaks in-between working hours. Both employees and employers should be aware of these things in order to avoid break violations. Employees have at least two types of breaks in an eight-hour workday:
- Meal Break â€“ This is a 30-minute break that should be provided to employees who have worked for four straight hours. If an employee works for eight hours, he should have an hour of unpaid meal break.
- Rest Break â€“ Rest breaks are 10-minute breaks that are given to employees who have worked for two straight hours. Unlike meal breaks, rest breaks may be taken from paid working hours.
Meal break and rest break claims have become common nowadays because employers want to utilize their employees to their fullest potential. However, they should still consider that their workers are still human beings who need rest and time to eat. If you are an employee and your boss does not consider your employee rights, you may file a meal break or rest break claim against him.
In order to become successful in your claim, you have to prove several things first. These things include:
- Your employer's knowledge of your employment schedule â€“ For some reason, some employers may not be aware of their employees' schedules. You should first provide evidence that your boss indeed knew your situation.
- Your action to let the employer know about your situation â€“ Once you have presented the first point, you should show the actions you have taken to inform your boss about your situation. If he fails to comply, that would be an indication of a break violation.
- Other employees who also experience the same treatment from your boss â€“ If your co-employees have also experienced same situation, ask them to join your cause and file a class action lawsuit against your employer. Compared to a single case, class action lawsuits succeed more often.
Under the law, an employer may only be permitted not to give meal breaks if he would provide an hour of additional pay. If he does not follow this strict condition, you may still pursue your claim against him. Once you become successful in your claim, here are some of the possible payments you may receive:
- Legal fees
- Unpaid wages
- Punitive damages
Remember that the firm hand of justice is available to anyone who would be brave enough to complain against the maltreatment of his employer. Unless you do the same thing, attaining your employee rights is far from possible.