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Working through lunch is compensable under wage and hour law

It is not uncommon for Florida employees to willingly continue working through their lunch breaks. They may not be aware that they are entitled to payment for those periods. Even if a person has a quick bite at his or her desk while working, the wage and hour law requires companies to include off-the-clock hours in the worker's remuneration.

The Department of Corrections in another state is facing a federal lawsuit that was filed by an employee who regularly continued working through his lunch break because there were no one to stand in for him. According to court documents, the worker claims the accumulated extra hours were enough to entitle him to leave under the Family Medical Leave Act. The plaintiff contends that he took several short periods of leave to care for his ailing mother during 2011 and 2012.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff was dismissed for unauthorized absences from work. The defendant claims to be unaware of the fact that the man frequently worked through his lunch break. This case underscores the importance of supervisors and managers to be fully informed about compliance with labor laws.

While a worker may have no problem with working through lunch breaks, it is not uncommon for superiors to take that willingness for granted and abuse it. If a Florida worker believes he or she is not fairly compensated for working off-the-clock hours, a consultation with an attorney who is experienced in litigating cases involving wage and hour law may best the best route to follow. An attorney can protect the rights of the worker while pursuing fair recovery of damages and even possible reinstatement in cases where a worker was terminated from employment.

Source: cookcountyrecord.com, "Employees working through lunch? Could cost employers in unforeseen ways, recent decision says", Taryn Phaneuf, March 18, 2016

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