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    I was working for a company who informed me I must take an hour lunch. I started working for them on March 02 , 2009. I was looking through the handbook to see how vacation works in August of 2009. I read that we were entitled and required to take a half hour lunch. When I questioned my manager she informed me I was wrong and did not know what I was talking about. I informed her that she has been with this company for nine years and a manager for four and she does not know what her handbook states. Well three weeks later on September 14, 2009 she informed us in our Monday morning meeting that we were only required to take a half hour lunch and that we could come in later or leave early. At no time did she even apologize for being wrong. My question is I should be entitled to pay for 30 minutes for every day I was forced to take an hour lunch until she told us we were required to take a half hour lunch and not an hour according to the handbook. Can you please answer this question because I am pretty sure I am entitled to pay for time that was taken from me with out my choice.

  • #2
    Could you please be more specific on just what you mean by "for time that was taken from me with out my choice"? Do you mean that you worked 40 hours and were paid only (for example) 37.5? Or do you mean that you worked 40 hours and were paid 40, but were forced to take a 60 minute lunch when you only wanted to take a 30 minute lunch?

    -----

    FYI, these are legally two very different things. Under federal law, non-exempt employees (most employees) must be paid based on actual hours worked. On the other hand, it is perfectly legal under federal and PA law to not pay employees for time spent not working during a 30 minute (or 60 minute) lunch.

    Federal law is not really big on the whole "choice" thing.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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    • #3
      If you did not work during that hour lunch then no, you are not entitled to be paid for the time. It is up to the employer what hours you work and that includes how long a lunch you take. While the employer cannot require that you take less time than allowed by law, he may require that you take more time, and that includes more time than is required by company policy. Unless you were not entirely relieved of duty and were working during some or all of that time, there is no legal requirement that you be paid for it regardless of how long a lunch the company handbook says.
      The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

      Comment


      • #4
        Lucnh Break VS Handbook

        We were told that we had to take an hour lunch and per the handbook we were only entitled and required to a thirty minute lunch break. So we were being made to take an hour so that they did not have to pay us for a half hour or come in a half hour later or leave a half hour earlier. They were trying to get around having us there for nine hours. When I questioned my manager about it she went to HR and they must have told her I was right and we were told that we are only required to take a half hour lunch per our handbook and PA law since that is what she was told by the HR. I think that I am entitled to pay for the thirty minutes that I did not have the choice to take a longer lunch with no pay or to leave early or come in later. They know they were wrong so that is why we were told we no longer had to take an hour lunch. I want my money for the time I was forced to take a longer break. I worked a 40 hour week but was not paid for an hour lunch because we were told we had to take an hour lunch. I worked 8:00 am till 5:00 pm. But when I looked at the handbook it specifically stated we were only entitled and required to a thirty minute lunch break for hourly paid employees. I questioned this and was told I was wrong but come to find out I was right because we were no longer allowed an hour break per our manager and HR. So can you tell me how they do not owe me and other employees money for making us take an hour lunch???? A manager can not over ride what is in a handbook as far as what we are entitled to for breaks. That is why handbooks are written up to protect employees and employers.

        Thank you,
        Lisa Chappell

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        • #5
          Refer to cbg's reply above - you do not have to be paid for any time not worked. Also, you can be required to take a longer lunch that the handbook requires if your employer tells you to.
          Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

          Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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          • #6
            But if that manager was correct in doing that she would not have changed the hour lunch that she kept saying we HAD to take. She changed that because I questioned it and she spoke to HR and they must of told her that I was correct. Because we were no longer allowed or forced to ntake an hour lunch because the handbook stated we were entitled and required to a half hour lunch. So how is that legal. I know that Walmart had a large lawsuit against them because they were doing the same thing to there employees and the employees won. There handbook stated something similar to what was in my handbook. I just want what I am entitled to since I was forced and told I HAD to take an hour lunch and that was not the case. they just wanted to get extra time from us which is not fair at all. In know the laws and my brother has been a manager for a very large company and he had to take HR classes on breaks and policies. And I confirmed with him what the handbook stated and he agreed that they are liable to pay the employees for the time they were forced more or less to take an hour lunch and that was not a policy in the handbook. Handbooks are written like I said to protect the rights of employees and employers. So if it is in black an white then it must be followed. I guess I will have to contact a lawyer who deals with HR policies in Pennsylvania to assist me in this matter. It is the principle behind this. This company has been shady with the employees for a long time according to people I was working with.

            Thank you,
            Lisa Chappell

            Comment


            • #7
              It's certainly legal not to pay you for a 60 min. lunch if you did no work during that time.

              Handbooks usually contain a disclaimer that they can be changed at any time & there rarely would be a problem giving the employees more than the law or handbook requires -- more vacation, more lunch time.......

              You're certainly free to talk to a lawyer.
              Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

              Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

              Comment


              • #8
                When you say handbook is it a company handbook or a union contract handbook?


                If its a company handbook there is usually a clause in there that pretty much says they can do what they want and the rules in handbook are just a guideline

                If its a union contract handbook then contact your union to file a grevience so you can get paid.

                cheers
                squills



                "With all their faults, trade unions have done more for humanity than any other organization of men that ever existed. They have done more for decency, for honesty, for education, for the betterment of the race, for the developing of character in men, than any other association of men."

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                • #9
                  I read this handbook inside and out and there is no disclaimer in there about it being up to the site manager to change anything about our lunch time. Because if that was the case she would not have made the announcement that by PA HR laws we are only entitled to a thirty minute lunch break and we were permitted to come in a half hour later or leave an half hour earlier. So there is a law somewhere stating that if that is what is in the handbook word for word then that MUST be followed for hourly employees in which I was. No mamager has the right to change a policy that is in a handbook to suit there needs. They must then hire more employees to fill what hours are needed to complete the work load. I guess my best bet is to contact a lawyer who deals in HR Laws on breaks and policy's for Pennsylvania.

                  Thank you,
                  Lisa Chappell

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    That is a great idea and I wish you luck, but Handbook is NOT a contract. But I do agree it should be followed and it should be treated like a contract, but because its not one, they can do what they please to change it.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      It is not a union handbook But there is no clause saying they can change out lunch time from a half hour to an hour at all anywhere in that handbook. It doesn't say a manager can makes those changes either. It specifically states we are entitled and required to a half hour lunch break. And when I questioned that with my manager she got back to all the employees and stated we are ONLY required a half hour lunch according to HR and the handbook !!!!! The corporate office for this company is in Florida and they had to look into Pennsylvania State laws and this is what the told the site manager. So I know I am not wrong just waiting to see if someone else really knows what I am talking about.

                      Thank you

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        A handbook is not a contract but an employer uses the handbook like it is a bible so there fore we as employees are entitled to do the same that is why they are printed up and given to us on first day of hire, So this will come back to bite then in the *** one way or another. I know how the laws work just wanted to see if there are other people out there that do also. This company will go down one way or another I do not like being treated like I do not know what I am talking about. And some people should not be in the positions they are in if they have not had proper training on HR laws and policies.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          If you are sure that there is no clause in the handbook then it could be treated like contract. I would continue talking to a lawyer. Hope this ends good for you..

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            To reiterate. You are NOT required to be paid for time you didn't work. If you took an hour lunch period, that's one hour unpaid. If you took a 30-minute lunch period, that's 30 minutes unpaid. Regardless of whether or not the employee handbook says you are entitled to a 30-minute meal period; if you took an hour, you took an hour, irrespective of the reason why.

                            In reality, PA law doesn't require that adult employees get a meal period at all.
                            I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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                            • #15
                              The contract says you are given 30 mins for lunch, and manager say's take an hour then that other 30 mins you are still working for the employer (though if i was the manager I would have my employees doing something else).


                              Being the handbook has same rights as a contract in this case, Thats what you go by.

                              So to reiterate. Employee took 30 lunch break and was told to do nothing for 30 more mins on the clock. Its not the OP fault managment did not read contract they gave her.

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