Working During Lunch

A common wage and hour claim brought against employers is the “working during lunch” claim.   In other words, an employee might claim that he or she had to perform some work during a lunch period, typically because of an emergency or other interruption, and thus should be paid for the entire lunch period.  This is a very common issue where an employer utilizes an automatic deduction for lunch periods, and the burden is on the employee to affirmatively report to a supervisor when a lunch period is missed or interrupted.

This week, the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from a nurse who lost at the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in her claim that she was wrongfully denied overtime for missed lunch periods.  White v. Baptist Mem’l Health Care Corp., U.S., No. 13-107, cert. denied 10/7/13.    This case is important in that it affirms the employer’s right to implement a procedure where the employee must report an exception to the automatic deduction, or else lose the right to complain.  The Sixth Circuit held that, absent specific notice from the employee in the form of a designated exception log, the employer cannot be found to have actual or constructive knowledge that the employee was working during a lunch period.

Further, the Sixth Circuit held that general complaints from the employee about missed lunch breaks, and raising concerns about payment on an employee satisfaction survey, did not qualify as notice that the employee was working during lunch without being paid mens air max 90.  The takeaway quote from the decision is as follows:  “Under the FLSA, if an employer establishes a reasonable process for an employee to report uncompensated work time the employer is not liable for non-payment if the employee fails to follow the established process.”

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About HR Headaches
HR Headaches is a blog for Human Resources professionals, business owners, and in-house counsel to get the latest news, analysis and tips in the area of labor and employment law. Every day there are new court decisions, agency interpretations, and regulations which affect the workplace, making it difficult, if not impossible, for many employers to keep current. HR Headaches is dedicated to providing information in a practical, no-nonsense manner to help employers avoid legal disputes and keep policies up to date.
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