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Michigan Unpaid Meal Break Attorney

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average workday is 8.8 hours long. No one should work that long without food. No employer should expect their employees to be productive and performing well if they don’t provide them with time to eat a meal. But while requiring employers to give meal breaks to employees seems like a matter of common sense, it is surprisingly not a matter of law. Neither Michigan nor federal law requires meal breaks for adult employees.

However, many employers do have policies that facilitate meal breaks. When an employer commits to providing meal breaks but fails to allow workers to actually take those breaks or actively discourages them from doing so, it can be a violation of employee rights. So, too, can requiring an employee to clock out during a meal break if they are not relieved of all employment-related duties.

At Sommers Schwartz, P.C., our experienced employment law attorneys are passionately committed to protecting the rights and well-being of Michigan workers, including their ability to take promised meal breaks. We have extensive experience handling federal minimum wage and overtime lawsuits, holding unscrupulous companies to account, and obtaining compensation and justice for our clients.  

Meal Break Laws in Michigan

Under both state and federal law, employers must pay their employees for all hours they work. This includes particular periods that an employer may classify as a break. However, a bona fide meal break is an exception, and employers can require a worker to clock out for their meal break, provided an employer completely relieves the employee of all job duties. Notably, employers can ask that employees do not leave the premises for their meal breaks.

For example, an employer can ask an employee to clock out for their lunch break if the employee may sit in the breakroom and enjoy their lunch uninterrupted. However, an employer cannot demand that an employee clock out to take their lunch, and then interrupt the employee’s break by calling them back to work a few minutes later without letting them clock back in. In the latter situation, the employee’s break is not a bona fide meal break because they were not completely relieved of their duties.

What Employees Can Do if Denied Promised Meal Breaks

When an employer puts up roadblocks to their employees’ ability to take promised meal breaks or imposes work obligations during unpaid meal breaks, it can be difficult for individual employees to protest effectively. Usually, however, employers that engage in meal break and other wage and hours violations do so across the board or for a large number of employees. And when employees band together to fight back against infringements on their rights, their employer often has no choice but to take their claims seriously or face severe repercussions.

The way workers can collectively vindicate their employment rights is through class action employment litigation. In a class-action lawsuit, similarly situated and impacted employees file a claim on behalf of a larger group of workers who are victims of the same violations.

Class action lawsuits offer many benefits, including:

  • Allowing smaller dollar-amount claims.
  • Sharing the cost of litigation.
  • Increasing employee’s bargaining power.

Michigan Employment Lawyers Who Passionately Fight for Workers’ Rights

Unique, detailed, and technical rules apply to class action lawsuits, making them as complicated as they are critical to defending the rights of workers. That is why it is essential that the lawyers who fight on behalf of class action plaintiffs in employment law matters have the experience, knowledge, and advocacy skills to pursue and win such claims.

At Sommers Schwartz, our attorneys have amassed an impressive track record of success in class actions generally and in employment litigation in particular. We aggressively represent workers across Michigan in all types of wage and hour claims, including unpaid meal break claims, minimum wage violations, unpaid overtime claims, and more.

If you have questions about your rights as an employee or have concerns that your employer is violating your rights, please call 866-826-1793 to speak with one of Sommers Schwartz’s employment attorneys today.

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A Client With a Wrongful Death Case

My family and I would like to thank Matt Turner, Mickey McCullough, Janice Koehler, and your entire law firm for your dedication to my wife’s wrongful death case. We realize that we had the best law firm to successfully help us. We appreciate the obviously hard work and the efforts…

Praise for Albert Asciutto

Shout out to Albert Asciutto for being a fantastic attorney & walking me through the entire process of fighting for my wages! He made the process quick and easy. In the end we won the case!! Thank you again for taking my case on, you are awesome! I would absolutely…

Praise for Jesse Young and Alana Karbal

Alana Karbal and Jesse Young did an excellent job fighting a giant for my wages. They pushed me to get what they needed from me and were amazing at communicating with me at all times. I won my arbitration and was so excited when I got more than what I…

Praise for Wage & Overtime Pay Attorney Jesse Young

Jesse Young worked an employment case for me that ended with almost 700 people getting their unpaid wages back. He and his team are incredible. From the first communication to the last, they never missed a single beat – consistent and clear communication, quickly replying to my communication, and always making…

A Client’s Gratitude for Tad Roumayah

Tad, I want to express my sincere gratitude for your unrelenting advocacy on my behalf throughout this process. It’s a shame that this sort of thing is still happening to new moms in 2023 and at an institution that prides itself on diversity, equity, and inclusion, no less. Knowing there…

Comments about Matthew Curtis from an Appreciative Client

Your efforts have changed my life, Matt. I’m forever grateful. My wife has tons of upcoming medical expenses, and we had both been working hard to make ends meet. I can’t thank you and your staff enough.

Praise for Lisa Esser-Weidenfeller and Matthew Curtis

I am writing to express my sincere gratitude for your hard work and dedication in handling my case. I appreciate your professionalism, your compassion, and your perseverance throughout this challenging process. You have gone above and beyond to protect my rights, to defend my interests, and to secure a favorable…

A Client Talks about Andy Dragovic

My wife had an accident, tripping over a cable line that wasn’t buried. Andy represented us and were very pleased with the outcome. Andy was very professional, personable, and quick to respond to us, answering any of our questions or concerns. The whole firm was responsive to our concerns, and…

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