A brief guide to Louisiana labor laws on breaks
As an employee, you are entitled to certain protections in the workplace. While there are no federal or Louisiana labor laws on breaks that require employers to provide them, certain regulations do apply in case they do offer them.
The most important rules define what actually qualifies as a break. If you are granted a period of time in which to eat lunch during which you must still answer the phone or perform any variety of customer service, Louisiana law on breaks says that you are still working. Even though you are eating, an employer is not allowed to deny you wages for this period of time.
In general, Louisiana labor laws on breaks require an employer to compensate you for any scheduled break which lasts under 30 minutes. However, it is important for you as a worker to hold up your end up of the bargain. Louisiana labor law on breaks states that if an employer makes it clear to you exactly how long any such period lasts and you take longer, they are not entitled to compensate you. You must respect the terms of an employer, just as they in turn must comply with the law at all times.
If you are granted a lunch break or other break in the workday that lasts 30 minutes or longer, Louisiana labor laws on breaks restrict employers from dictating how you spend this time. You are entitled to leave the workspace and make use of this time as you see fit.
Working mothers are entitled under Louisiana labor law on breaks to be granted time to breastfeed their child for up to one year after they have given birth. They must be given a clean, private area to do this other than a bathroom. Employers who fail to provide time and a location for working mothers are in violation of Louisiana labor laws on breaks.
People who believe that their employer has violated their rights should contact the Hours and Wages division of the United States Department of Labor. It is this government agency's responsibility to make sure that employers comply with all aspects of Louisiana labor law on breaks, as well as all other regulations relevant to the workplace. Your claims will be investigated. If they conclude you have been improperly denied compensation by being forced to work during an ostensible break, an employer will be found in violation of Louisiana labor laws on breaks and ordered to compensate you.
Should this government agency decide not to assist you, you may decide to pursue civil litigation. While it is not necessary to retain the assistance of a lawyer to go to civil court regarding a violation of Louisiana labor law on breaks, it can often be helpful to have professional legal expertise. If you have a good case, you may be able to find free representation. A lawyer will bring a lawsuit related to violations of Louisiana labor laws on breaks, taking a percentage of whatever you are awarded rather than charging you directly.