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Breaks/Lunch Breaks Indiana

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  • Breaks/Lunch Breaks Indiana

    My employer posted a notice that states:

    Breaks/Lunch Breaks: In order to maintain compliance with government wage/hour guidelines, non-exempt employees (hourly in our facility) must take their breaks and lunch breaks away from their work stations/work area.

    Is this something new? I normally take my 10 minute breaks at my desk where I read or study. I am one of just a couple people in the warehouse that is hourly that have an office and a desk. I feel like I might be being targeted by back stabbing co-workers that don't have an office. There are lot's of people that work there that can't stand each other!!

    What if I don't leave my office and continue to take my breaks there. What actions can my employer take against me? I just wonder if this is something they made up to get those people off their backs.
    Any help would be great.

  • #2
    You have two completely unrelated issues.
    - Lunches and breaks are legally two different things. Breaks are normally paid and lunches normally are unpaid. However, lunches can only be unpaid if the employee is completely relieved of all responsibilities. Some employers make a point of ordering their employees to stay away from their desks during lunch so that a claim of time worked cannot be made. Or worse, the employee actually working, since even a little bit of work can make the lunch break paid. I have heard a few employers also not like breaks taken at the desk because of the (very remote) possibility that the employee will claim that they are not allowed to take breaks. I personnally consider the lunch argument and proposed solution weak and the break argument laughable, but it does not matter legally what I think.
    - Which brings us to the second issue. The employer can legally order you or any other employee to do pretty much anything that is not actually against the law. What you describe is not against the law. It is arguably not necessary, but a very significant percentage of all instructions I have received over the years were unnecessary, dumb or both.

    Your employer has given you a lawful order. They can terminate you for failing to follow it. You pick your fights. Is this the fight that you are prepared to get fired over?
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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    • #3
      Agree - you have to follow your employer's "orders" or you can be terminated. Can you find some place to read or study away from your desk?
      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


      • #4
        I agree it is 2 completely different things. I clock out for lunch and eat in the breakroom or I have the option to leave. They, the employer gives us 2 ten minute breaks because it's a state law (we don't clock out for). What I am asking is "In order to maintain compliance with government wage/hour guidelines" legit? Is this something new (goverment wise) or something they just made up?

        It's just really stupid for me to walk over to the breakroom to do exactly the samething I can do at my desk, read. They are indeed freaking control freaks and they will turn the screws on you if you don't comply. I do have the right not to take the 10 minute breaks and to continue to work. Either way they still win.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Betty3 View Post
          Agree - you have to follow your employer's "orders" or you can be terminated. Can you find some place to read or study away from your desk?
          Yes the breakroom. I stopped going their because of the people that are in there. Go figure!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by rfigg59 View Post
            They, the employer gives us 2 ten minute breaks because it's a state law (we don't clock out for).
            Unless something has changed just recently my 2007 state info re break/lunch law in In. is employees under the age of 18 must be provided 1 or 2 rest breaks totaling at least 30 minutes if the employee is scheduled to work at least 6 consecutive hours.

            No lunch or rest breaks required for adults.

            Of course, the employer can allow them.
            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


            • #7
              Originally posted by rfigg59 View Post
              What I am asking is "In order to maintain compliance with government wage/hour guidelines" legit? Is this something new (goverment wise) or something they just made up?
              Just to be clear, even if "they just made up" this rule, the rule is not against the law, and it is perfectly legal for your employer to require you to comply with this rule. Employers make up rules all of the time. Some rules make sense. Some rules do not. I have worked for employers who would not have recognized a sensible rule if it walked up to them and piddled on their leg. Of course I have also worked with some employees who thought that drinking a six-pack of beer prior to coming to work and using heavy equipment was acceptable behavior.

              One more time. Your employer has given you a lawful order. They can terminate you for failing to follow it. You pick your fights. Is this the fight that you are prepared to get fired over?
              Last edited by DAW; 11-15-2007, 05:07 PM.
              "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
              Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by rfigg59 View Post
                What I am asking is "In order to maintain compliance with government wage/hour guidelines" legit? Is this something new (goverment wise) or something they just made up?

                It could be a number of situations. Your company may have had a US DoL audit and feels a need to establish more discipline around breaks/lunch. Or you may have had an internal audit where managers think there is a need to reinforce the rules. Or you may have a new manager, payroll person, whoever, who thinks things have been a little fuzzy previously and wants to follow the straight & narrow.

                In the end, your company is making a very clear statement to ensure is is following the law and that both employees and supervisors understand the law. It is ensuring your rights are protected (by having bona fide breaks) and it is protected by vigorously enforcing the rules.

                There are a number of ways to ensure compliance. If they felt prior methods weren't working, this could be the next, no nonsense, method.
                Last edited by Dorris; 11-16-2007, 11:25 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Dorris View Post
                  It could be a number of situations. Your company may have had a US DoL audit and feels a need to establish more discipline around breaks/lunch. Or you may have had an internal audit where managers think there is a need to reinforce the rules. Or you may have a new manager, payroll person, whoever, who thinks things have been a little fuzzy previously and wants to follow the straight & narrow.

                  In the end, your company is making a very clear statement to ensure is is following the law and that both employees and supervisors understand the law. It is ensuring your rights are protected (by having bona fide breaks) and it is protected by vigorously enforcing the rules.

                  There are a number of ways to ensure compliance. If they felt prior methods weren't working, this could be the next, no nonsense, method.
                  Thanks Dorris and DAW, As it turns out the new rules (because there were more then just this one) were all really meant for cubicle city in the front of the building. Those people are totally out of control, eating, burning candles etc. They were also given to the warehouse employees just to cover all the bases. I can continue to take my breaks in my office. I guess it was just a knee jerk reaction on my part!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by rfigg59 View Post
                    Thanks Dorris and DAW, As it turns out the new rules (because there were more then just this one) were all really meant for cubicle city in the front of the building. Those people are totally out of control, eating, burning candles etc. They were also given to the warehouse employees just to cover all the bases. I can continue to take my breaks in my office. I guess it was just a knee jerk reaction on my part!
                    I'm glad it did not include you, I was going to see if you could park your chair outside of your door, not in the way of anyone, and read your book with your door closed, so you could not be accused of trying to work tee hee.

                    Comment

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