In some states, employee meal and rest break periods are required by law. Typically in these situations, state law dictates issues related to the frequency of breaks, length of break, and when breaks need to be taken.

Lawsuits where plaintiffs allege that all or some portion of their meal or rest break periods were missed or interrupted are common in these states. In these instances, employees generally allege that work related activities prevented them from taking a full, legally required break.

Our statistical and economic research provides a number of insights in wage and hour cases involving allegations of missed meal periods and rest breaks.

Our analyses use time punch, payroll statements, employee time logs, and court records to calculate the frequency of missed meal and rest break periods. In some instances, typically when employees actually punch out and in for meal and rest periods, we correlate time punches, employee time logs (such as building badge swipes), and court documents to assess the likely frequency of the alleged meal period violations.

In other instances, typically when the employee does not punch for meal and rest periods, we use employee time logs, court records such as declarations and deposition testimony, and in some instances surveys, to study meal period violation allegations. Economic damages calculations can involve either a statutory penalty, such as one hour of pay, or the actual amount of meal time missed by the employee.

In states that have labor codes that govern its employees, such as California and Washington, there are typically penalties for noncompliance with the labor codes.

The labor code may provide a penalty for each occurrence of the violation as well as penalties for the failure to maintain sufficient records. The penalty calculations may also require interest calculations to be performed.

We work with attorneys to calculate the appropriate penalties and interest for the missed meal violations at issue in the lawsuit or investigation. Our staff is proficient at providing calculations and tabulations that are insightful and well documented.

Employee time log information, such as gate and building entry time stamps, can be used to analyze missed meal and rest period violation allegations.

Time stamped employee time log information can be used to create a time log that shows what activity the employee was performing, or likely performing, at different points throughout the employee’s work day.

When combined with the employee’s time punch records, it may be possible to determine the likelihood of a missed or interrupted meal or rest break period.

In some instances employee meal and rest break time punch records do not exist. In other instances, the time punch records may not provide a complete picture of the employee’s work day.

In these types of situations it is often useful to use a representative sample of employees to analyze the missed meal allegations.

Representative sampling can be used to draw a group of employees whose experiences can be extrapolated to the universe of employees in the class or collective action.

Declarations, affidavits, or survey evidence can be obtained from the individuals regarding the frequency of missed meal and rest periods.

Our staff is experienced and proficient at performing statistical representative sampling. We provide calculations and tabulations that are insightful and well documented.