What is my recourse if my employer is deducting time for lunch even thoughI choose to work through my lunch period?

Get Legal Help Today

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What is my recourse if my employer is deducting time for lunch even thoughI choose to work through my lunch period?

90% of the time I skip lunch and continue to work. I fill out the time sheet “none” is written in the lunch column. I recently noticed my checks 2 to 5 hours short every payday for 11 months. When I asked they then informed they were deducting lunch even if I didn’t take it. This has resulted in thousands of dollars lost overtime pay. They never informed until I asked.

Asked on August 9, 2011 Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Going forward, the employer has an absolute and unconditional right to tell employees that cannot work overtime without specific permission from the employer, to require them to take a lunch break (i.e. even if they don't eat or don't go out, they can't work and be paid for that time), etc.

However, an employer cannot do this retroactively. If there was no policy requiring approval or permission for working through lunch or overtime; you filled out your time sheets and they accepted them; then you should be paid for all hours worked, at least up through the point where they told you to stop doing this. Note that if there is anything in an employee handbook, policy manual, or contract/agreement with you stating that you need approval to work through lunch or extra hours, then the company could, however, probably refuse  to pay you for that time since you violated a policy of which you had notice.

If you feel that you were entitled to work the extra time for at least some of these months (i.e. no policy or instructions against it), you may wish to speak with an employment attorney about the situation, and/or contact the state labor department, to see if you have a claim.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption