In wage and hour law, as with any area of the law, there are issues that arise with elevated frequency at certain moments in time. (For example, a few years ago the courts saw a flurry of employee-versus-independent-contractor misclassification cases involving exotic dancers.) More recently, an issue before multiple different courts involves employers taking automatic meal-break deductions, regardless of whether the workers got their full break (or any break at all) or not. When this happens, it may constitute a Fair Labor Standards Act violation for which you may be entitled to compensation. An experienced Atlanta wage-and-hour lawyer can tell you more about whether your situation represents a violation of the law.
One of the most recent incidents occurred to our north, where Ohio workers initiated a class action against their employer, a medical company that owns hospitals, rehab centers, and clinics. According to the workers, the employer had a practice of automatically deducting 1/2 hour from their hours to account for each worker’s meal break. The alleged problem was, however, that the realities of the workplace (especially during periods of understaffing) meant that workers often had to work through lunch or were able only to take abbreviated meal breaks. Even when those circumstances arose, the employer still took the automatic 30-minute deduction, according to the complaint.
On that basis, the workers alleged that the employer violated the FLSA by failing to pay overtime wages the workers earned. The class that the workers proposed was an expansive one; namely, “all current and former hourly, non-exempt direct care employees of defendant who had a meal break deduction applied to their hours worked in any workweek where they were paid for at least forty (40) hours of work.”