BY: Jesse Young | IN: Unpaid Wages & Overtime
According to a class action complaint filed in federal court, Missouri-based Daddy Ray’s Commercial Bakery (part of J&J Snack Foods) may cheat hourly employees out of wages by automatically deducting 30 minutes from their time records for unpaid meal periods. The hourly employees allege that Daddy Ray’s actually allowed 20 minutes for meal periods and that much of that 20 minutes was spent walking to and from a wash station to clean up and remove and put on company-issued safety gear.
Daddy’s Rays has made fig and fruit-filled bar cookies at its facilities in Moscow Mills, Missouri, just north of St. Louis, since 1998. Acquired by J&J Snack Foods in 2007, the 65,000-square-foot commercial bakery produces goods sold throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, “bona fide” meal periods are generally not treated or compensated as work time. Unpaid meal periods must be at least 30 minutes, during which employees are completely relieved from performing their duties. But if the employer requires the employee to perform any job responsibilities while eating, whether active or inactive, the worker is deemed not relieved of their duties. Similarly, rest periods of 20 minutes or less are considered compensable time regardless of whether any work was performed.
When an employer automatically deducts meal time as non-compensable even though the employee did not receive a bona fide meal period, the company can be held liable for violating the FLSA. If Daddy Ray’s engages in this illegal pay practice, employees should speak up, step forward, and fight for the hard-earned wages they are owed, including overtime pay at 150% of their base pay hourly rates.
If you were employed at Daddy Ray’s within the past three years and suspect you’ve been the victim of wage theft, please contact Sommers Schwartz today to discuss your right to compensation. You deserve to be paid for all the time you put in!
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Jesse Young represents clients in serious employment disputes, such as severance negotiations, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing activity, employment contracts, terminations, and compliance. In addition, he has appeared in hundreds of wage-and-hour lawsuits and hundreds more arbitrations arising under the Fair Labor Standards Act and similar state laws.