What to do if my girlfriend works at a donut chain that does not give her a 30 minute break?

She only gets a 15 minute break for working an 8 hour shift. Sometimes she doesn’t even get the 15 minute break. Isn’t this slave labor? Is there any legal action to take against this? I need to help her.

Asked on August 29, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

In NY, employees who work a shift of more than 6 hours starting before 11 am and continue until 2 pm must have an uninterrupted lunch period of at least a half an hour between 11 am and 2 pm. For specific meal period requirements, go to 
http//www.labor.ny.gov/formsdocs/wp/LS443.pdf
 
Note Meal periods do not count as work time, therefore employers do not need to pay for that time. Also, employers do not have to provide other breaks, such as for "rest periods" or "coffee breaks". However, if an employer permits a break of up to 20 minutes, then it should be paid as work time.
If after reviewing the above, your girlfriend feels that she is being denied breaks as per state law, then she can file a complaint wiith the NY Department of Labor and/or consult directly with an employment law attorney as to her rights/remedies.


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