When it comes to meal and rest breaks, West Virginia is among the least generous states in the union. While the law here does more than federal law – which doesn’t protect any time for meal or rest breaks – the bare minimum entitles employees to a single 20-minute meal break if they work at least six hours and without regard for any hours worked beyond that.
Needless to say, West Virginian workers whose employers remain faithful to the minimal requirement probably value their meal break a great deal. Depending upon your perspective, then, it might come as a surprise that even the time you’re allowed to take this meal can be determined by your employer.
‘At a Time Deemed Reasonably by Your Employer’
If your employer only grants you your single 20-minute meal break, you’re probably planning on at least eating a full breakfast to tide you over for the day. So, what happens if your employer tells you to take your lunch a mere hour after you clock in? It might seem unfair, but such a scenario could play out without any grounds for legal action against your employer.
In West Virginia, the law simply states that your employer can tell you to take your meal break at any time they deem reasonable. What’s more, your meal break doesn’t have to be given to you all at once. If it’s more convenient for your employer to break it up into smaller break periods throughout the day, that practice is also permitted by West Virginia law.
Important exceptions to this law are when your employer is already giving you a meal break – which might be outlined in company policies or your employment agreement – or if you’re allowed to eat while working.
Is My Meal Break Paid?
It’s not typical for employers to pay their employees for time spent doing something other than work. That’s definitely the case if your employer allows you to take a meal break lasting longer than 20 minutes – compensating you for this time is optional.
What’s not optional, however, is compensating employees for meal breaks lasting 20 minutes or less. Federal policies typically consider breaks around this time as hours worked and to count toward compensable time.
Is Your Employer Violating Meal Break Laws?
While your employer can legally allow you only one 20-minute meal break to be taken at any point in your workday, there’s enough room for them to unlawfully take advantage of you. At Hoosier Law Firm, PLLC, we can help you hold an employer acting illegally accountable for your mistreatment.
Our attorney is experienced at handled a variety of employment law complaints, and we can help you seek justice through fair and just compensation for your losses. If your employer has violated your state or federal rights, reach out to Hoosier Law Firm, PLLC for help.
Contact us online or call (800) 455-8721 to get the legal support you need now.