At Lunchtime, They're on Their Own Time

At Lunchtime, They're on Their Own Time

Filing Fair Labor Standards Act meal-break cases has become a popular, yet often unsuccessful, move, explains Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor associate Margaret DiBianca.

On The Delaware Employment Law Blog, DiBianca says that a recent New York federal court case gives employers a “real reason” to believe the suits are “all but dead on arrival.”

In DeSilva v. North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, DiBianca says the court decertified a collective action filed by 1,196 plaintiffs alleging they were subject to the automatic deduction of meal breaks that they didn’t receive.

Auto-deduct policies require employees to report a missed break to their supervisors in order to be paid for it, she explains. If they fail to do so, the break period is automatically deducted from the time they work.

DiBianca says the court explained that “mounting precedent” has resolved any doubt about the validity of auto-deduct policies, stating the policies “are not per se illegal” and “without more, a legal automatic meal deduction for previously scheduled breaks cannot serve as the common bond around which an FLSA collective action may be formed.”

She says the decision continues to build on the growing body of case law dismissing or decertifying FLSA collective and class actions arising from auto-deduct meal-break policies.

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