Can You Sue Your Job For No Breaks?
Do you think your job should provide reasonable breaks during the day, but it doesn’t? You may be considering suing your employer. Understand what your rights are and if taking legal action is the right choice.
Do You Have the Right to Breaks?
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets the standards for federal labor laws, including the right to take breaks. Generally, if you are an hourly employee, your employer is required to provide:
- Rest Breaks: Generally, employers must provide employees a break of at least 10 minutes for every four hours worked.
- Meal Breaks: Employers must provide meal or lunch breaks after a certain number of hours worked. Typically, this is only required for shifts that are longer than 6 hours.
Keep in mind that these standards are federally-mandated, and individual states may have their own rules and regulations. In most states, when it comes to rest and meal breaks, if you are an hourly employee, the law is on your side.
What Are Your Options?
If your employer isn’t giving you the breaks you are supposed to have, your options include:
- First, talk to your employer and explain why you feel you should be getting the breaks you are entitled to. If you can present your case and come to a resolution, you won’t need to take further action.
- If your employer isn’t willing to work with you, file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor or a state-level labor agency. This will often be enough to get your employer to comply with the law.
- If the first two steps don’t work, and your employer still isn’t providing you the breaks you’re due, then you can consider filing a lawsuit. Do your research to understand your rights and take the appropriate steps for your state.
Do You Have a Case?
Simply not getting the breaks you are supposed to doesn’t automatically mean your employer has broken the law. You can only sue if the employer failed to provide these breaks in a “willful and intentional” manner. This means the employer knows what the law requires and is either refusing to comply with the law or is intentionally breaking it.
Before taking your employer to court, take the time to research what the law says you are entitled to and if your situation meets the criteria.
Ultimately, you may find suing your employer is the right thing to do if you’re not receiving breaks you’re due. But make sure you understand your rights, talk to your employer and consider other options before filing a lawsuit.