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Disparity in meal periods Tennessee

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  • Disparity in meal periods Tennessee

    I work for a local government entity in TN. The practice in the past has been that, even though all departments have the same scheduled hours, some employees have been given a 1 hour meal period and some have been given a half hour meal period. With the standard work day totalling 8.5 hours (minus unpaid lunch) some employees are getting paid for 8 while working 7.5, while others are getting paid for 8 while working 8. What are the legalities regarding this disparity?

  • #2
    There is nothing illegal about this practice as long as who gets how long is not determined by their race, religion, national origin or other characteristic protected by law.
    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.

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    • #3
      My concern is that individual employees within a classification (indicating pay grade) are being paid for 8.0 hours when only 7.5 hours are worked. By being allowed more time for meal period than other individuals in the same classification, this would create a greater dollar amount per hour paid to the employee for actual work performed than is shown in their classification. The 'awarded' extended lunch is dependant upon the department head.

      Since protected classes aren't discriminated against, are there any case law precedents that address the disparity?

      From an employee morale standpoint, the issue should be adressed to provide fairness. Has anyone dealt with a similar situation?

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      • #4
        I'm not denying that it can cause a problem for employee morale. But the law does not require fair. The law only requires legal.
        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.

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        • #5
          Some government workers such as police officers, etc. are required to respond and go back to work while they are on their 30 minute meal break.
          I couldn't count how many times I just gave up on the meal break because it was constantly interupted. Maybe that's what is going on here.

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          • #6
            Ever since I was two years old, I knew how to try to play my parents by pointing out the inequities in the world..."well, Johnny's mother let's him do it, so why can't I?" Of course, my mom would respond, "then go live with Johnny."

            But you're correct...perceived inequity creates problems for people. But the law is not about correcting all perceived inequities but rather preventing/punishing actual inequities based on certain defined characteristics that are considered major ones. The fact that Johnny gets longer for lunch is not illegal as long as the reason is not because of sex, race, religion, etc.

            If a person works for 8 hours and gets paid for 7.5, THAT is illegal because it violates the FLSA. If a person works for 7.5 hours and gets paid for 8, that is a "gift from the gods".

            So you have a choice to make: you can continue to bemoan that Johnny gets 8 hours...or you can go live with Johnny.
            The only thing spammers are good for is target practice.
            No trees were destroyed in the sending of this message, but a bunch of electrons and phosphors have been a tad inconvenienced.

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