Worker’s Rights and Protections – Are You Entitled to a Meal Break?

Web Admin - Saturday, October 21, 2017

Illinois employee rights attorneyEmployers may know the laws that pertain to their business and the rights that their employees possess, but they are not always willing to reveal such information. For example, an employer might not explain to you that you may be entitled to time off work under the Family Medical Leave Act if your child, spouse, or parent becomes ill. Some may even know you are dealing with an illness in the family and refuse to tell you because it would hurt their bottom line. 

Rest breaks – particularly lunch breaks – are another area where employers are sometimes less than straightforward. They may imply that you are not entitled to one, or they may avoid your questions if you ask. Some will even go so far as to terminate an employee that asserts their rights, but they will usually try to find another reason to list in their files because they know it could land them in legal trouble. Learn more about your rights to rest breaks, and discover what an experienced attorney can do for you in your wrongful termination or unpaid wages case. 

Employee Meal Breaks in Illinois 

While there are several federal labor laws that protect employees from discrimination and harassment, those pertaining to meal breaks fall under each state’s jurisdiction. As such, an employee’s right to a meal break is governed by Illinois state law, which states that employees are entitled to a meal break after they work 7 ½ hours in a day. The break may be unpaid, but it must last at least 20 minutes. The employee cannot be required to perform work duties while on their break, and they cannot force an employee to stay on premises unless certain criteria apply. 

When Employers Fail to Provide Breaks 

Employers who violate state law by not providing meal breaks to eligible employees may be held liable for their actions by the state or through litigation. The latter typically stem from cases brought against the employer by former employees, who may be seeking lost wages or other damages. Employees may be eligible for additional compensation if they were wrongfully terminated for trying to assert their right to a rest period. 

Unfortunately, the legal process for pursuing damages is both complex and arduous. Employees are also at a distinct disadvantage in employment litigation matters. Much of this is due to the employer’s access to resources, including that of a legal professional to protect their business. Employees are encouraged to seek experienced legal assistance with their wrongful termination or rights violation case. 

Contact Our Schaumburg Employee Rights Attorney 

If you or someone you love has experienced a loss because of a violation of meal or rest periods, contact Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC for assistance. Dedicated and experienced, our Schaumburg employee rights attorneys can aggressively represent your case. No matter what the situation, we will pursue the most favorable outcome possible. Get started by scheduling a personalized consultation. Call 847-934-6000 today. 

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.

Source: https://www.illinois.gov/idol/FAQs/Pages/meals-breaks-faq.aspx

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