One of the first things a company needs to do when it starts taking on employees is put in place employment policies and make sure they’re in line with all the relevant labor laws that apply to them (federal, state, local, etc.). It’s a good way for companies to protect themselves against potential wage and hour lawsuits, but it’s only the first step. They also need to make sure they’re educating all their employees and managers in order to make sure the policies are as effective as they can be.
No matter what employers have on paper, it is always possible for them to coerce their workers, either intentionally or unintentionally, into giving up some of their legally-mandated rights. This has been exemplified in the allegations of a wage and hour class action lawsuit that was recently filed against Courtyard by Marriott in California.
Under California labor law, all hourly, nonexempt employees are entitled to one paid, uninterrupted rest break lasting at least ten minutes for every four hours they spend working. For every five hours of work, employees are entitled to one unpaid, uninterrupted meal break lasting at least half an hour. For every day an employee does not take one of these breaks, or is interrupted, for any reason, they are entitled to one hour’s worth of wages, in addition to all wages, tips, bonuses, etc. earned that day. Continue reading