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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  16 years practicing attorney
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As a salaried employee, am I entitled to a lunch break? I Work

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As a salaried employee, am I entitled to a lunch break? I Work between 12 and 15 hours a day. I will stop to eat something and maybe make a phone call but am always working. If our phone rings or a customer comes in I am right up helping.

Also we have hourly employees that sign up for work, some will sign up for 2 hours some will sign up for 10 hour shifts. I feel they are entitled to breaks and lunches?

What is the penalty for this Violation.
Hello,

Under Washington law accoding to the WA State Dept of Labor and Industries:
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An employee is entitled to a meal break:
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If more than 5 hours are worked in a shift:

  • Workers must be allowed at least a 30 minute meal period.
  • Workers must be at least two hours into the shift before the meal time can start.
  • The meal time cannot start more than five hours after the beginning of the shift.
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However, an employer is not required to pay the employee for a lunch break by law unless:
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  • They are required or allowed to remain on duty.
  • They are required to be on-call at the business premises or designated worksite to be available to return to duty even if they are not in fact called back to duty.
  • They are called back to duty during their meal period even though they normally are not on call during the meal period.
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If an employer is violating this law, the employee can file a formal complaint with the Dept of Labor here:
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http://www.lni.wa.gov/WorkplaceRights/ComplainDiscrim/WRComplaint/default.asp
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The employer can be subjected to monetary fines for violating the employee's rights.
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Thanks.

Barrister

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Please keep in mind that I am trying to help you understand and resolve your situation. I don't make the laws, I am just reporting or interpreting them, so the outcome may not be what you had hoped for.

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Please be patient as I am typically working with several customers at any given time. Some answers take 5 minutes, some 35 minutes, depending on the level of complexity. But rest assured, I will get back with you as soon as I am able.

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If you need additional clarification on this question, just click "Reply" and I will be happy to help you. Please give me as much detail as you can so that I can respond after receiving all the relevant details.

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