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By Denver Nicks
January 5, 2016
Trinette Reed—Getty Images

A publishing company in Pennsylvania was found guilty in federal court of unlawfully declining to pay for bathroom breaks and other short rests for its telemarketing employees and ordered to pay at least $1.75 million in back wages.

The full liability levied on American Future Systems, a publishing company based in Malvern, Pennsylvania, has not yet been determined but the U.S. Department of Labor estimates it to be $1.75 million at a minimum in back wages and damages to more than 6,000 employees at the company’s 14 call centers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Ohio.

“For far too long, American Future Systems penalized its employees for taking breaks to meet the most basic needs during the work day — stretching their legs, getting a glass of water or just using the restroom,” said Jim Cain of the Department of Labor. “The judge’s decision reaffirms how clear the [Fair Labor Standards Act] is about short breaks being compensable, and goes a long way in making these employees whole by awarding liquidated damages.”

The FLSA does not require lunch and coffee breaks but considers small breaks of five to 20 minutes compensable under the law.

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The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

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