Should You Be Paid If You Work Through Your Breaks?

Do you routinely have to work through your breaks? If you are not paid for time worked through breaks you may be entitled to back pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA requires that all non-exempt workers be paid overtime at a rate of one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for all time spent working in excess of forty hours in any one work week. If you routinely work through breaks, your lunchtime or any other time that exceeds your regularly scheduled shifts, you may be entitled to back wages. If you have questions concerning what wages you may be entitled to, it’s a good idea to consult with a top Atlanta overtime pay attorney right away.

In a recent case, Manning et al. v. Boston Medical Center Corporation et al., 1st Cir., Nos. 12-1573 & 12-1653 (8/1/2013), a group of hospital workers claimed they routinely worked through breaks and outside of their scheduled shifts without pay. According to reports, three registered nurses and an administrative assistant who worked for Boston Medical Center (BMC) recent filed a lawsuit asserting that BMC “deliberately used a “combination of unlawful pay practices and timekeeping policies” to deprive them of pay, including a timekeeping system that automatically deducts pay for breaks.

The hospital workers also asserted that BMC failed to pay them for mandatory training sessions and prevented them from them from recording time worked beyond their shifts. More than 4000 employees are involved in this lawsuit, and are seeking class certification. Although the lower court stated that a lack of evidence supported the employees claims, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the dismissal noting that “because the employees’ assigned tasks often need to be completed by certain times, and because of understaffing and lack of relief during meal and work breaks,” BMC employees frequently worked beyond their scheduled shifts.

Further, the work was required by BMC and “was performed in the open.” Additionally, more than once, employees “questioned BMC managers about the practice of deducting time automatically from employees’ paychecks.” The BMC “scheduled [training sessions] during regular work hours and led the required sessions, demonstrating that they knew that the trainings were taking place.” Because BMC “did nothing to account for the extra time worked,” the wage and hour lawsuit was allowed to continue.

The workers were also allowed to maintain a claim against BMC’s former president and CEO, finding that she had sufficient control over working conditions to establish individual liability.

For more information about the FLSA or if you believe that you have been required to work extra hours without pay or have not been fairly compensated for all your work, please contact the dedicated Georgia wage and hour attorneys Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP right away.