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Thread: Meal break - OHIO

  1. #1
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    Angry Meal break - OHIO

    This is a new thread as to not confuse the thread I originally posted this on. Here are 2 posts that I had made there:

    Glob wrote:
    This is in Ohio. I work midnights for hotel H. I have previously worked for hotel C and hotel D, all midnight shift, and they paid the employee 8 hours for being on the clock 8 hours.

    There was an understanding at hotel C and hotel D that since there was nobody to relieve you for your break, when you took your lunch break, you might have to stop eating and answer the phone or check a guest in/out.

    At hotel H, for the first year and a half employment, this was also the case (work 10p to 6a and get 8 hours pay). The hotel was purchased a bit over a year ago and the new owners are now forcing EVEYBODY to take the 30 minute unpaid break for hours worked over 6 hours.

    On the midnight shift, there are 2 people working, so the person on break could have the duties taken over by the person not on break, but we also offer 24 hour van shuttle rides to the local airport.

    When I talked to my manager about the event of being on break when a van ride was requested (or a rush of people coming in), he told me that I'd have to come off break and work, that later, I could try to make up the time that was interrupted.

    I told him that if they were now forcing me to take 30 minutes of non pay, that I would sit in my car and read or listen to the radio.

    He told me that I could not do that, that I had to be reached for emergencies.

    I told him that it was not right, and possibly illegal to make me work for no pay.

    Now the question: Is he right? Can they make me be available during my (now mandatory) 30 minute lunch break?

    Is Ohio one of the states lets an employer and employee waive the 30 minute unpaid break?

    Glob wrote:
    According to this

    Federal law does not require lunch or coffee breaks. However, when employers do offer short breaks (usually lasting about 5 to 20 minutes), federal law considers the breaks work-time that must be paid. Unauthorized extensions of authorized work breaks need not be counted as hours worked when the employer has expressly and unambiguously communicated to the employee that the authorized break may only last for a specific length of time, that any extension of the break is contrary to the employer's rules, and any extension of the break will be punished.

    Bona fide meal periods (typically lasting at least 30 minutes), serve a different purpose than coffee or snack breaks and, thus, are not work time and are not compensable


    No states except those on this chart have laws requiring a meal break, if I'm reading that correctly. Ohio isn't on that chart.

    And finally according to 29 CFR 785.19 - MEALS

    (a) Bona fide meal periods. Bona fide meal periods are not worktime.
    Bona
    fide meal periods do not include coffee breaks or time for snacks. These
    are rest periods. The employee must be completely relieved from duty for
    the purposes of eating regular meals. Ordinarily 30 minutes or more is
    long enough for a bona fide meal period. A shorter period may be long
    enough under special conditions. The employee is not relieved if he is
    required to perform any duties, whether active or inactive, while
    eating. For example, an office employee who is required to eat at his
    desk or a factory worker who is required to be at his machine is working
    while eating. (Culkin v. Glenn L. Martin, Nebraska Co., 97 F. Supp. 661
    (D. Neb. 1951), aff'd 197 F. 2d 981 (C.A. 8, 1952), cert. denied 344
    U.S. 888 (1952); Thompson v. Stock & Sons, Inc., 93 F. Supp. 213 (E.D.
    Mich 1950), aff'd 194 F. 2d 493 (C.A. 6, 1952); Biggs v. Joshua Hendy
    Corp., 183 F. 2d 515 (C. A. 9, 1950), 187 F. 2d 447 (C.A. 9, 1951);
    Walling v. Dunbar Transfer & Storage Co., 3 W.H. Cases 284; 7 Labor
    Cases para. 61.565 (W.D. Tenn. 1943); Lofton v. Seneca Coal and Coke
    Co., 2 W.H. Cases 669; 6 Labor Cases para. 61,271 (N.D. Okla. 1942);
    aff'd 136 F. 2d 359 (C.A. 10, 1943); cert. denied 320 U.S. 772 (1943);
    Mitchell v. Tampa Cigar Co., 36 Labor Cases para. 65, 198, 14 W.H. Cases
    38 (S.D. Fla. 1959); Douglass v. Hurwitz Co., 145 F. Supp. 29, 13 W.H.
    Cases (E.D. Pa. 1956))
    (b) Where no permission to leave premises. It is not necessary that
    an employee be permitted to leave the premises if he is otherwise
    completely freed from duties during the meal period.


    So, now it comes down to this:
    (1) The federal law doesn't mandate or specify a meal break, and if Ohio law doesn't either, then it is up to the employer to give a 'bona fide meal break'
    (2) The period of the break can be any time, but typically 30 minutes. Does that mean the employer can say you get 10 minutes unpaid meal break? I'm a bit confused on this, or what a special circumstance is as referred to the first quote.
    (3) The employer can specify you stay on property during your meal break but only if you are completely relieved of duty and not interrupted to do work. Does this mean you can refuse to work during your meal break if asked?
    (4) Who specifies the work break hours? Can the employer specify when you take your meal break?

    Thanks again in advance for any advice and for any points of reference to law that I can research.

    Sorry for the unintentional hijacking
    Unhappy Night Auditor

  2. #2
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    (1) The federal law doesn't mandate or specify a meal break, and if Ohio law doesn't either, then it is up to the employer to give a 'bona fide meal break'

    Since neither Federal nor Ohio law requires meal breaks, or breaks of any kind, it is up to the employer to decide whether or not to provide a break and if so, when and for how long.

    (2) The period of the break can be any time, but typically 30 minutes. Does that mean the employer can say you get 10 minutes unpaid meal break? I'm a bit confused on this, or what a special circumstance is as referred to the first quote.

    Federal law says that while breaks are not required by law, IF breaks are offered, any breaks of less than 20 minutes must be paid. So while an employer could opt to give you only a 10 minute meal break (or no meal break at all) a ten minute break would have to be paid.


    (3) The employer can specify you stay on property during your meal break but only if you are completely relieved of duty and not interrupted to do work. Does this mean you can refuse to work during your meal break if asked?

    No, it does not, not unless your employer or a bona fide contract provides you that right. What it means is that if you are not completely relieved of duty or if you are not interrupted, the break becomes a paid break, not that you get to refuse to work.


    (4) Who specifies the work break hours? Can the employer specify when you take your meal break?

    The employer specifics the work hours AND the break time, unless state law provides otherwise, which Ohio does not. The employer can specify when the break is taken, if the break is taken, and everything else related to work hours.

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