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  • Lunch breaks California

    If an employee is scheduled to take 30 minutes of lunch break every work day, and that employee constantly shortens her lunch to 5-10 minutes and clocks back in early.....is the employer at risk for any liabilities for not providing 30 minutes of lunches?

  • #2
    Yes.

    http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/FAQ_MealPeriods.htm
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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    • #3
      Thank you. So just to be clear, eventhough the employer is scheduling 30 minutes of lunch and the employee clocks in early and returns to work earlier than 30 minutes out of their own accord, the employer is still at risk for violating the california law? if that is the case, how should it be remedied?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by hr newbie2 View Post
        Thank you. So just to be clear, eventhough the employer is scheduling 30 minutes of lunch and the employee clocks in early and returns to work earlier than 30 minutes out of their own accord, the employer is still at risk for violating the california law? if that is the case, how should it be remedied?
        I'm going to tread lightly, as I have found out from reading other posts that California is much, much different with labor laws than Colorado...

        I would write up the employee for not following the schedule, especially if this 5-10 minutes per day is causing her to go into OT for the day. The write-up should state that her work schedule is <start time> to <end time> with the lunch break scheduled <time> to <time.> Any further infractions of abuse of lunch break time for her benefit/shortening her lunch break without the express permission of her supervisor would consititute termination.

        Just my thoughts, hoping they are consistent with the employee-friendly California laws!
        The opinions and advice I give are strictly from my own experiences and respect that others may feel differently than me. I do sometimes play devil's advocate, but mean it as no offense towards anyone.

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        • #5
          I wouldn't write her up, not everything has to be a write up.

          I would speak with her and let her know what the issue is - noncompliance with California break laws.

          She probably doesn't know and thinks she's being a hard worker. I would document the discussion, but it doesn't have to count against her.
          Last edited by WorkHorse; 03-09-2010, 05:36 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by hr newbie2 View Post
            Thank you. So just to be clear, eventhough the employer is scheduling 30 minutes of lunch and the employee clocks in early and returns to work earlier than 30 minutes out of their own accord, the employer is still at risk for violating the california law? if that is the case, how should it be remedied?
            If you are looking for a short simple answer that will be 100% accurate 100% of the time, no such answer exists. There are pending on court cases on this question.

            I can say that every employer I have worked for (all of them in CA) felt that they were very much at risk if their employees played the same type of games you are discussing. I can say that those employers made it very clear that any employee who played those types of games would be fired. And some employees were indeed fired. Those employer basically had:
            - Clear policies that such behavior was not allowed.
            - Any employees who violated the policy once was written up and consoled.
            - Any employee who kept violating the policy were written up and fired.
            "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
            Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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            • #7
              I would make sure that it is a game first and not jump to conclusions.

              At my previous workplace, it wasn't the worker playing games, it was the employer. The employer loaded us up with so much work you couldn't take breaks or lunch.

              This practice continued until the California DOL came down and reviewed our timesheets and fined the company.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by hr newbie2 View Post
                If an employee is scheduled to take 30 minutes of lunch break every work day, and that employee constantly shortens her lunch to 5-10 minutes and clocks back in early.....is the employer at risk for any liabilities for not providing 30 minutes of lunches?
                No of course not. If the employee leaves the premises for lunch then clocks in 10 minutes early she is still on break, she is just clocked in.

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                • #9
                  employee constantly shortens her lunch to 5-10 minutes
                  The employee clocks in 20 to 25 minutes early.

                  48 Packard, does this change your opinion/advice? (Interested in the answer!)

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                  • #10
                    48Packard, please also note post #2 & DAW's link.
                    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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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by WorkHorse View Post
                      I wouldn't write her up, not everything has to be a write up.

                      I would speak with her and let her know what the issue is - noncompliance with California break laws.

                      She probably doesn't know and thinks she's being a hard worker. I would document the discussion, but it doesn't have to count against her.
                      Everything doesn't have to be a write up is true, however in a year or two when some random government agency comes looking into the employees record, hopefully a good memory will serve. IMHO the best option is first a verbal warning, then a 1st written, 2nd written and then a final warning. Then there is documentation on file.
                      Not everything in America is actionable in a court of law. Please remember that attorneys are in business for profit, and they get paid regardless of whether or not you win or lose.

                      I offer my knowledge and experience at no charge, I admit that I am NOT infallible, I am wrong sometimes, hopefully another responder will correct me if that is the case with the answer above, regardless, it is your responsibility to verify any and all information provided.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 48Packard View Post
                        No of course not. If the employee leaves the premises for lunch then clocks in 10 minutes early she is still on break, she is just clocked in.
                        Is this a guess?
                        Not everything in America is actionable in a court of law. Please remember that attorneys are in business for profit, and they get paid regardless of whether or not you win or lose.

                        I offer my knowledge and experience at no charge, I admit that I am NOT infallible, I am wrong sometimes, hopefully another responder will correct me if that is the case with the answer above, regardless, it is your responsibility to verify any and all information provided.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by GotSmart View Post
                          The employee clocks in 20 to 25 minutes early.

                          48 Packard, does this change your opinion/advice? (Interested in the answer!)
                          In California you may clock in to the work place early and the employer does not have to pay you for clocking in early.

                          48Packard, please also note post #2 & DAW's link.
                          Yes Betty I read the link it does not change my reply. The employer is not in violation since it meets the requirements of the link. The employee can not launch a complaint unless the employer is violation of the link.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by 48Packard View Post
                            In California you may clock in to the work place early and the employer does not have to pay you for clocking in early.

                            IF the employer can show that the employee was not actually working; the burden of proof would be on the employer, not the employee.

                            In violation of a link?
                            I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              In 30 years this is the first time I've heard anyone claim that an employee can clock in early and does not have to be paid, particularly in California. Do you have some support for this position?
                              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

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