Washington State Court Remedies Meal Break Violations

Gordon Law Group

Many employers automatically deduct meal breaks from employee pay, but never actually give employees those breaks. In Massachusetts that is a crime, but while the employer might suffer criminally the question often comes up as to how much pay an employee should receive for that unpaid work time.

As we’ve reported in a past blog concerning a ruling of the Federal District Court of Massachusetts, Judge Gertner has ruled that an hour worked is an hour unpaid, but how do other courts handle the problem?

In a recent decision of the Washington State Supreme Court, when the Sacred Heart Medical Center’s nurses worked through their meal breaks, the Court found that those nurses were entitled to pay at the overtime premium rate, not just straight-time compensation. The Court reasoned that if nurses received only pay at the straight time rate, the hospital have an incentive to employ fewer nurses.

If you find yourself working through promised meal breaks for which your employer automatically deducts wages, call us.

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