View Full Version : Tennessee Breaks/Lunch breaks laws

08-22-2005, 01:40 PM
I live in Tennessee and work for a Corrections company. I was wondering if there are any laws about them not letting you take any breaks or lunch breaks for the whole 8 hour shift and sometimes 16 hour shifts. They make you work threw the whole shift without any kind of break. I also was wondering if there are any laws against them forcing you to work an extra shift right after you work your scheduled 8 hour shift to make it a 16 hour shift?

08-22-2005, 01:48 PM
Nothing in the law prohibits them from requiring you to work a double shift unless you have a bona fide contract that says otherwise.

However, TN law requries that in most cases you be granted a 30 minute, unpaid meal break for every six hours of work.

If you are not being provided with this break, contact the state DOL.

09-08-2005, 10:06 AM

my boyfriend is constantly griping to me about his job.... about how one of the supervisors gives her husband like 20 hours overtime a week, when he doesn't even work 40 hours regular a week. anyhoo,

my bf complains that they take out a 30 min. break during his workday, which is typically about 8-12 hours.... now they are adding on 30 mins to his regular shift , but taking out another 1/2 hour break.. so basically he's staying an extra half hour for free! on top of that, he doesn't even have time to take a break, but they take breaks out anyway... he has gotten 2 lunch breaks the year he's been there.

he works about 40-60 hours a week/ @ an hourly wage, so he's not salary.

I know tn requires a 30 min. break for every six hours work, but how does that factor in with overtime?

what about the fraud aspect of supervisors taking out time "because it's the law" regardless whether they get a break or not!!!??

09-08-2005, 12:05 PM
The time he is on his 30 minute break is NOT considered part of his "hours worked" for calculating overtime. That's when he actually takes the break.

However, if he does not actually take the break, they cannot deduct for it and in that case it IS part of his overtime calculations.

I can't tell if this is part of the question or not, so I'll throw it in for free.

Overtime begins when he has WORKED forty hours, regardless of what his regular schedule is. If, for example, he is scheduled to work 32 hours and he works 38, none of that is paid at time and a half; it is all at straight time because he did not work 40 hours. If he works 35 hours and then takes 8 hours vacation, he gets 43 hours of straight time because he only WORKED 35. But if he works 46 hours, then 6 hours is at time and a half and the rest is straight time.

09-09-2005, 06:14 AM
cool, tx.. i get the whole when OT begins... dont supv have to ask b4 they make ANY kind of deduction?!

also, what is the aspect of Fed. Law (us dept of labor) vs. State law??

09-09-2005, 08:25 AM
Huh? Supervisor asking before making what kind of deduction? A automatic meal deduction?

With reference to state and Federal law, the one providing the most benefit to the employee is the law that prevails.

09-09-2005, 08:39 AM
how can it be automatic, if the worker has not clocked out all day and has not taken a meal break, only 5 min breaks for restroom/grab a quick bite to eat.

When the worker complains about not having breaks, the supervisor tells him "I have to take a 30 min. meal break out, it's law" Also, the worker will ask for a break, the supervisor says no, b/c the work has to be done.

Also, the superv. takes a 30 min. break out after 6 hours, then an hour break out after working 10 hours... shouldn't it be working 12 hours to take out an hour break?!

It's a shame how some employers have total control over employees.

09-09-2005, 10:59 AM
I can't make sense of your last post.

An employer MAY NOT LEGALLY automatically deduct a break if the employee did not take that break.

09-09-2005, 11:01 AM
me either....

09-09-2005, 11:30 AM
Are you punching in and out on a time clock or is the employer using some otherwise automated time reporting system? It is not unusual to set up the system to automatically deduct the approved meal period. However, if the meal period cannot be taken without the complete relief of duty, then the time is compensable. As such, it should be noted on the time card or the supervisor should be advised, or some other way of notifying the appropriate person(s) that the automatic lunch deduction should be cancelled. We do this at my employer, 16,000 employees.

05-12-2006, 11:44 AM
I live and work in Tennessee. Can a company force you to take a 30 minute lunch break if you don't want to take the full 30 minutes? They are interpreting Tennessee labor laws to mean this. They are now going penalize you for taking only a 20 minute lunch. I thought the law was for the employees and not the employers.

05-12-2006, 01:04 PM
Yes, they can. Even if state law didn't mandate a 30-minute lunch, whether you take one or not and how long is up to the employer, not the employee. The employer has the legal right to set work hours.

05-12-2006, 01:04 PM
They are correct. TN law REQUIRES a 30 minute break. Not a 20 minute break; not a whatever the employee chooses to take break; a 30 minute break.

However, even if the law did not require it, it is the right of the employer, not the employee, to determine the hours worked, and that includes the length of breaks. So yes, even if the law did not require any breaks at all, the employer could require you to take a 30 minute break.

05-12-2006, 01:05 PM
Jinx, cbg. :D

05-12-2006, 01:13 PM
That's a very strange part of the law. The only reason my employer is doing it is to comply with the law. Oh well.

05-12-2006, 01:59 PM
And you want them to violate the law? :eek:

05-17-2006, 09:21 AM
No. I don't want my employer to break the law. I just think it's a stupid law. The whole reason the law appears to be in place is to keep an employer from forcing an employee to skip breaks and lunches. The law seems to punish the employee. I work in the computer industry and love my job. If it were up to me, I would just assume work while I eat my lunch.

05-17-2006, 09:47 AM
Ah, well, but it's not up to you. Requiring such meal periods may not be what YOU would prefer, but try talking to the myriad of people who post here who work in states that don't require meal periods. They all want one. :p

05-19-2006, 07:01 PM
:confused: My employer automatically deducts a 30 minute lunch period, but I was wondering if he can do that without giving us an extra 30 minutes of work to compensate for the deduction...like working 8 1/2 hours so I still get paid for 8.

05-20-2006, 11:27 AM
No, he does not.

05-21-2006, 06:53 PM
Thanks for your help!

06-06-2006, 06:07 PM
if you work 8.50 hr a day. do you get any 15 mim breaks by tennesse law

06-07-2006, 01:06 PM
No state requires any more than 10 minute rest breaks, except for certain hotel employees in Illinois (a recently passed law). Tennesse law requires meal breaks only; there is no TN law requiring rest breaks.

09-07-2006, 11:20 PM
U.S. Department of Labor
Employment Standards Administration Wage and Hour Division
Minimum Length of Meal Period Required Under State Law For Adult Employees in Private Sector1/
January 1, 2006

Jurisdiction Tennessee Basic Standard hour for employees scheduled to work 6 consecutive hours or more.

Prescribed By: Statute Coverage Applicable to every employer.

ali37 :)

09-08-2006, 05:08 AM
Um, we already provided the link to the requirements in Tennessee. Besides, this last post is 3 months old; I doubt very seriously the poster is coming back for more information now.

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