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15 Minute Lunch, is that Legal?? Or am I being screwed?

 
 
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 10:12 am
My boss just came up to me and said if I want to go for any cigarette breaks during the entire day then I have to cut my lunch break in half to 15 minutes... while all the other employees can take as many cigarette breaks as they want and still have their lunch time

But because I answer the phones and they need to cover for me I get screwed, is this legal or is it some kind of discrimination? Evil or Very Mad
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Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 1,517 • Replies: 18
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Bella Dea
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 10:14 am
You should legally be entitled to both breaks and lunch. Depends on where you live, your age and what you do.
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Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 10:15 am
Keep in mind that 15 minutes isn't even enough time to get properly screwed....
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squinney
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 10:20 am
Yeah, how ya supposed to flirt with the pizza guy in only 15 minutes?

Actually, I think it's something like 15 minutes for first four hours on the clock, 30 minute lunch, and 14 minutes for last 4 hours on the clock. I thought that was national / federal guideline but it may be different where you are or since I last managed people.
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Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 10:20 am
I work in Mass, and being a manager I need to know these laws. If you work over (I believe it is 6 hours), you are by law, entitled to a half hour for lunch.

Also, they are supposed to have these laws posted in an area that is regularly seen by employees - I have seen it posted in HR, kitchens and lunch rooms.

It is clear as day. Employers do not have a choice.

If it is helpful it is M.G.L. 149 sections 100 and 101.

The lunch break however, does not have to be paid by the employer, but they must give you 30 minutes.
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squinney
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 10:21 am
This info should be posted somewhere in the employee lounce or where employees can see it. Isn't it posted? If not, call your local employment office and ask.
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Crazielady420
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 10:26 am
I work full time, 8 hours a day... I am supposed to get the half an hour lunch break and 2 15 minutes breaks, but she just basically said no, she is short staffed right now and she just doesn't have time for me.... But I only went when everyone was sitting on there butts, talking about what they did last night and not working... I am so sick of this place... I think I may quit today... This isn't right and if I say no, I am going to take my lunch break and my cigarette break without cutting down my lunch, I know they will fire me
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Bella Dea
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 10:28 am
Crazielady420 wrote:
This isn't right and if I say no, I am going to take my lunch break and my cigarette break without cutting down my lunch, I know they will fire me


Document the converstaions you are having with her. Date and time as well as the entire situation. In the even you do get fired, you have some grounds to sue for wrongful termination. Who knows...you might win!
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 10:28 am
Well, being short staffed isn't usually a valid legal defense. So, I'd take it and let them know that you know your rights. I don't think they can fire you.
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Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 10:31 am
Legal or not, it's a bad job. Start looking for something where the environment is more benign.
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Crazielady420
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 10:31 am
Her department is short staffed, there are plenty of employees in the building that usually cover also... just nobody wants to do it, they all want to chat with each other and slack off together and those that are nice enough to do it are usually told not to, it is like they don;t want me to leave the desk... There have been times when I have had to wait more than an hour to use the bathroom because everyone ignored me...

I am really upset right now... My co-worker is checking the labor laws right now for me
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Crazielady420
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 10:38 am
Does anyone know where to find the labor laws for massachusetts because I googled it, but it is so confusing to me
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 10:46 am
Found this pdf. http://www.ago.state.ma.us/filelibrary/minwageposter2004.pdf

Apparently since you are not paid for the 30 minute break they can't shorten it. If you agree to take a shorter lunch, they have to pay you.
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 10:48 am
And it looks like they are not required to give you any breaks. Of course, if others are given breaks but you are not, that may be cause for complaint. But they can't make you take your paid breaks out of your unpaid lunch break.
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Crazielady420
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 10:52 am
So do I have the right to say that I entitled to a half an hour lunch break and if all the other employees get cigarette breaks on top of their lunch breaks then I should be entitled to them also?
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Lady J
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 11:18 am
Hey CL,

As far as I remember, and its been awhile since my HR days, if you work full time you are entitled to every benefit given to every other full time employee and that includes a full lunch break and any other breaks given, whether they be ten minutes or fifteen. Lunch breaks are normally not paid, but your morning and afternoon breaks are.

If you company has an employee handbook, I would request one from Human Resources. If they say they don't have one, definitely contact your State's Fair Labor Practices Board as FreeDuck mentioned.

You may not necessarily have a say when your breaks are scheduled, but you should definitely be entitled to them if all other full time employees are.

If your your particular department is short staffed, that is NOT your problem. Legal rights are legal rights. And definitely keep written documentation of every instance and conversation you have with your manager especially with the time and date.
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Crazielady420
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 11:54 am
I just walked in to find the "short staffed" department in another apartment, all of them sitting down, laughing away, not working, just talking about non-work related stuff
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Lady J
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 12:26 pm
Go to or call your Human Relations Department right now. Is there someone with more authority than your manager that you could also talk with?
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Crazielady420
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 12:29 pm
I work with my mother and she is the head of HR at my campus, she is looking into for me
0 Replies
 
 

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