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Not taking a Lunch Break - Arizona

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  • Not taking a Lunch Break - Arizona

    I just recently took a new HR position at a company where their policy stated in the Employee Handbook states that if you work over 6 hours, you must take a minimum of a 30-minute unpaid break (lunch) up to one hour. Of course, this is nothing unusual. However, I was just informed by reviewing time sheets from non-exempt employees that they are working an 8-hour day, taking no lunch. And in some cases, working 9 hours, no lunch, and getting over time. This doesn't sound right, yet I know I am going to need some legal verbiage/background to back up my fight with managers. Can someone please spell out this "break" law to me in detail- or send me a link to the DOL website if you have quick access to one (so I don't have to hunt for it)?

















    Thank you very much!
    Nicole
    "Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much"

  • #2
    Neither Federal nor Arizona law requires any breaks of any kind.

    Federal law says that IF breaks are offered, a break of under 20 minutes must be a paid break.

    Beyond that, in your state it is up to company policy.
    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
      Let's try it this way....

      And, I knew that part of the law... just never saw or heard of anything having to do with the part where OT came into the scenerio. Since I am determined to fight this - what if I go about it this way:

      Since the handbook states the policy as I indicated in my original post - and some employees are not following the policy due to the managers allowing it (why, I don't know) then, can i be looking at any discrimination problems since there isn't standardization? Hell, I would love to work 9-5 and not take a lunch! BUT - my boss says I have to. Yet, obviously, the other departments are not enforcing the policy and are allowing a 'no lunch period'... AND getting OT!!! (God, that kills me. ) Now, I am being discriminated against. Right?

      So what is my next action?
      Okay, I will answer my own question:
      Review the policy with the company's decision makers, and chose to have a mandatory lunch break, or not. If we do - then everyone follows it - no exceptions. Problem solved.
      Correct?
      "Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much"

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      • #4
        The difference is that you are not being ILLEGALLY discriminated against. Discrimination is only illegal if it is based on gender, race, religion, or other protected characteristic. It is not illegal for some departments to refuse to follow policy even if others do. That is entirely an internal company matter.

        Obviously the best solution would be to come to a meeting of minds about this and to either enforce the policy across the board, or amend it to read management discretion. But nothing you have posted presents any legal issues. If the company doesn't care whether or not the policy is enforced from department to department, the law isn't going to care either.
        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


        • #5
          Now, I am being discriminated against. Right? Holy smokes. No, you are not being discriminated against.

          Review the policy with the company's decision makers, and chose to have a mandatory lunch break, or not. If we do - then everyone follows it - no exceptions. Problem solved. Er, problem created. You can either manage blindly by the policy (regardless of whether or not the policy makes sense) or you can manage by being a business person. Which in this case means you first talk to department managers and find out WHY some employees/departments are skipping lunch and working OT. My guess is that it's because customer demands are high and your company needs the additional hours worked every day. If you go storming about demanding that everyone comply with the lunch break policy regardless, you are not going to have a shred of credibility with operations management.

          I suggest you do some on-line research and find out exactly what qualifies as prohibited discrimination under federal law and your State's laws. What you have described here doesn't even come close.

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