Throughout the United States, employers carry an obligation to provide fair and just working standards and environments for their employees. Individual states have the power to regulate employer meal-break mandates, so these laws can vary greatly from one state to the next. Unfortunately, many workers aren’t aware of their state’s meal-break laws; as a result, they may unknowingly experience unfair and even illegal treatment on the job when meal breaks are denied (or unpaid when they should be compensated).
By having a better understanding of your state’s employer meal-break laws and by seeking legal guidance when needed, you can make sure you’re being treated justly in the workplace. At Feldman Legal Group, our experienced employment lawyers are here to help protect your rights and best interests as an employee in the state of Florida. Wondering if you have a case? Request your free case assessment by giving us a call.
How Are Meal Breaks Defined?
The definition of a “meal break,” much like the laws related to them, can vary slightly from state to state. However, in most cases, a meal break is characterized by an uninterrupted period of rest where an employee can have at least 30 minutes to enjoy a meal or otherwise relax. In the state of Florida, a 30-minute meal break should be given for every four hours of continuous work—though it is worth noting that, per state law, this requirement applies only to minor workers.
Are You Entitled to Meal Breaks at Your Job?
If you’re employed in the state of Florida and are age 18 or older, you are unfortunately not legally entitled to a 30-minute meal break unless you’re a senior citizen (in which case, you may be entitled to an unpaid meal break every four hours). Minors under the age of 18, on the other hand, should receive a 30-minute meal break once every four continuous hours worked. These meal breaks are not required to be compensated by an employer, though any shorter breaks or breaks where employees are still required to perform job duties (no matter how minor) should always be paid.
Outside the state of Florida, meal break laws can vary greatly—so you’ll want to do some research into what your state’s regulations are to determine whether or not you’re receiving fair and legal treatment by your employer.
What to Do If You Are Denied Meal Breaks
If you should be receiving regular meal breaks at your place of employment but aren’t—or if you should be entitled to a paid break but are not being properly compensated—it’s important to seek legal guidance as soon as possible. In the meantime, you should also take measures to document by date and time instances where you are illegally denied a meal break; this documentation may come in handy should you need to pursue legal action against your employer later on.
How an Employment Attorney Can Help You
Specifically, an employment attorney can assist you in determining whether or not you have a case and, if so, what your case may be worth. At Feldman Legal Group, we can help you fight for the meal breaks and/or compensation to which you may be entitled, with the goal of improving working conditions for all employees throughout Florida. We also represent workers in Georgia out of our office in Atlanta.
To find out more about how we can help you or to schedule your free case assessment, give the team at Feldman Legal Group a call today.