peloton bike

A lawsuit that is seeking class action status accuses Peloton of cheating field specialists out of overtime pay for time that was worked during unpaid meal breaks. The case serves as another reminder of the fact that many employers abuse meal periods to cheat their employees out of their wages. If your employer requires you to take unpaid meal breaks but still expects you to do your job during that time, reach out to The Lore Law Firm’s national network of overtime and wage attorneys.

The Basis of the Peloton Lawsuit

Peloton hires field specialists to deliver, install, and instruct customers on how to use their exercise equipment. According to the lawsuit, for every six hours that a field specialist works, Peloton automatically deducts a 30-minute meal break from their wages. For every 12 hours worked, the company takes away an hour of wages and deems it to be a meal break. Importantly, this deduction takes place regardless of whether the employee actually takes a break.

Field specialists must often work through their so-called meal breaks. The lawsuit alleges this work includes driving company vehicles from one work site to another in order to meet strict delivery deadlines imposed by Peloton. Because of the company’s automatic break deductions, field specialists routinely work over 40 hours during the week without receiving compensation for overtime.

Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, the lawsuit alleges violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and New York Labor Law. It is seeking collective action status. If granted, any field specialists who worked for Peloton Interactive, Inc. and meets certain criteria might be allowed to join the lawsuit.

The employees in question are non-exempt, meaning that federal and state overtime rules require that they must be paid a premium for hours worked in excess of 40 during a week. Overtime pay is also known as time and a half because employees have to be paid 1.5 times their regular hourly rate.

Meal Breaks: A Constant Source of Abuse

Employers have a history of misusing meal breaks to deny their employees pay for the work they do. As a general matter, meal breaks (usually lasting at least 30 minutes) can be unpaid. However, the employee must actually be relieved of work duties during the break. Requiring work during an unpaid meal break, even if the worker is merely “on call,” will usually be considered a violation of this rule.

In the case of Peloton, the company is alleged to have automatically taken the meal breaks out of the employees’ wages, regardless of whether the employee took a break. It is argued that in many cases workers not only did not take breaks but were expected to meet strict work requirements that effectively prevented them from being able to take breaks.

Employees may not understand that they have the right to be paid for all periods in which they work, regardless of whether the company calls some portion of that time a break or automatically deducts that time from their paychecks. A half-hour here and an hour there may not seem like much, but over time it can add up to substantial amounts of money stolen from the worker. Taking legal action can help you recover the pay you’ve earned – potentially double.

The Lore Law Firm represents workers across the country and on a contingent fee basis (no fee if no recovery). We stand up for those who have been denied overtime and the pay they have worked so hard to earn. If you have questions about your right to fair compensation for your work, complete our free and confidential client intake form now.

Michael Lore is the founder of The Lore Law Firm. For over 25 years, his law practice and experience extend from representing individuals in all aspects of labor & employment law, with a concentration in class and collective actions seeking to recover unpaid back overtime wages, to matters involving executive severance negotiations, non-compete provisions and serious personal injury (work and non-work related). He has handled matters both in the state and federal courts nationwide as well as via related administrative agencies. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Michael by using our chat functionality.