What is auto meal deduct / automatic meal break deduction for drivers?
In this article I talk to you about why and how auto meal deduct/ automatic meal break deduction is illegal in California for drivers.
Illegal Auto Meal Deduct, Auto Meal Deduction for Drivers
Many of you know that my law firms have represented more drivers than any other law firm in California. I specialize in truck driver and delivery driver wage and hour class actions. And I represent the over 100,000 workers in the landmark California Supreme Court case Brinker v. Superior Court which sets out the duties that California employers must follow in order to meet their obligation to provide a meal period/ lunch break.
In this segment of Wage and Hour Class Action Lawyer Straight Talk I take on one of the biggest rip-offs in the trucking industry - auto meal deduct/ auto meal deduction for drivers.
Driver Auto Meal Deduct / Auto Meal Deduction
How this all plays out in the real world for truck drivers and delivery drivers in California is that most California trucking and delivery truck companies not only do not meet their duty to provide a meal period - but they also automatically deduct a half hour’s pay from your wages. This is called auto deduct or auto meal deduct and/or auto meal deduction.
The trucking companies and delivery truck companies rationalize this by saying that since drivers are out on the road driving that they have to deduct a meal break because drivers are expected to take their meal periods. Many trucking companies and delivery truck companies make drivers either fill out a route sheet each day saying they took a meal period (some even make drivers put down the time of the meal period) and/or make drivers sign that they got their meal periods before they can get their paycheck.
These companies (and many of their drivers) erroneously assume because of all this that they have met their duty to provide a meal period and thus it is perfectly okay to deduct a half hours pay from the driver. Not so fast. In fact, not even close.
Based upon case after case after case where I have represented drivers in California class actions, I can’t recall a company that did all of this legally. Seriously, they all screw it up.
In its simplest terms, they don’t meet all the California requirements for providing a meal period and they don’t meet the requirements in order to automatically deduct a half hours pay. Under California law, employers have a lot of hoops they need to be able to jump over in order to get away with auto meal deductions. I will let you know when I see even one of them do it properly.
Fact is, in case after case we have shown that the California trucking company didn’t jump over most of the hoop, let alone all of the hoops. This is why if your employer is automatically deducting a half hour of pay from you (or an ex-employer); then you need to contact a seasoned California driver wage and hour lawyer.
With auto meal deduct cases you are usually going to be entitled to an hours pay for every meal period where your employer failed to provide you a meal period. “Provide” is the key term here. Just because you took a 30 minute meal period doesn’t mean your employer provided you a meal period under the law. For example, in the Brinker case, the trial court recently granted class certification on this very issue where Brinker contends employees got a meal period and that doesn’t meet the standard as laid out by the California Supreme Court.
In addition, you are entitled to have the half hours pay paid to you. And if you worked over 8 hours that day you are entitled to have it paid at the time and one half rate. Then you have to add in interest and waiting time penalties and you will see how quickly all of this really adds up.
Here is the bottom line - if you are a driver and your employer (or former employer) had an auto meal deduct, auto meal deduction policy and/or practice - - it is most likely illegal under California law. And, you are probably entitled to a lot of money in owed wages.
My wage theft book was written for California drivers
The last thing the trucking company wants you to do is to get a copy of this book. The reason why is that they know that you will end up understanding wage theft and your rights as a driver in California.
I tell folks all the time not to believe what they read on the Internet. The Internet is filled with folks (and lawyers) that say this and that about themselves in order to pump themselves up. Happens all the time. That is why you should check out the reviews on the book California Truck & Delivery Wage Theft on amazon.com.
Get your FREE copy of the book
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Why Bill is asked to testify concerning wage law legislation at the California State Senate and the California Assembly
Bill Turley is regularly asked to testify before the California State Senate and the California Assembly concerning potential wage legislation. The California legislature is how wage laws are made.
Usually when Bill testifies before the California State Senate on wage and hour issues, Bill is the only class action lawyer invited to testify at the hearing.
Bill testified before the California State Assembly and California State Senate on the new PAGA bill (read: wage theft legislation).
A No B.S. straight-shooter lawyer
Believe it or not, Bill is known for being a no B.S. straight-up lawyer. Besides being known as one of the leading experts on this area of the law in California, one of the reasons why Bill is asked to testify at legislature hearings is because he is known for being straightforward and blunt. He is known for being no B.S., with no lawyer-talk, no double-talk.
Clients that are happy they got their check in a California Wage Case
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Disclaimer: Please understand these discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, endorsement and/or discussion does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation and/or this particular case/ situation.