Has your employer deducted money from your paycheck for hours that you worked?
Some employers will make mandatory deductions from hourly workers’ paychecks, without regard to time actually worked. For example, some employers will automatically deduct one half-hour per day for a “required” lunch period, and will make this deduction without checking whether the employee was actually OFF work, and actually took a break, during that time.
Moreover, the employee’s work circumstances may have given him or her no choice but to work through lunch. It is one thing for an employer to say an employee is free to take a lunch break, or “must” take a lunch break every day. But that expectation of the employer does little good if there are competing expectations (e.g. busy schedules, complaining customers, limited time available, etc.) that demand an employee perform work during the designated lunch time.
Please know that if you actually WORK during the deducted periods of time (e.g. you worked during the deducted “lunch” breaks), it is NOT acceptable for the employer to reap the benefits of your work without paying you.
It is not enough for the employer to claim they told you that you were prohibited from working.
The Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) at 29 C.F.R. § 785.13 (Duty of management) provides the following:
“[I]t is the duty of the management to exercise its control and see that the work is not performed if it does not want it to be performed. It cannot sit back and accept the benefits without compensating for them. The mere promulgation of a rule against such work is not enough. Management has the power to enforce the rule and must make every effort to do so.”
If you are not being paid for work that you performed, you should consider having an employee rights attorney review your circumstances to see whether you should be receiving wages for the deducted periods, and whether the employer is violating wage law. You may have good legal options to claim wages, and/or take back your free lunch.
DISCLAIMER: The information in this blog is not legal advice, nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship between you and attorney Michael Brown or his law firm.