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  • KRONOS Florida

    I am employed in FL; Our employer has always stated that it is against the law for an employee to work past 6 hours without a taking a lunch break, therefore that is the reason for mandating a lunch break that we are technically forced to take. Is this true? If not, is the employer in violation of the law for stating something that isn't true or is inaccurate for the employer's benefit?

    Recently, our employer has implemented the Kronos time reporting system for nonexempt employees (WHAT A MORALE BUSTER). The employer has stated that their policy does not allow for employees to work thru their lunch and leave early. However, sometimes we only take a 1/2 lunch, then leave at the regular time and Kronos shows 8.5 hours worked. At the end of each pay period, the exempt supervisor or manager will need to adjust this time so that the employee only shows 8 hours worked--overtime is not allowed at this time.

    Should I print out my weekly time in & time out on Kronos to keep a record of my actual hours worked, (say with a 15 min lunch break) since the time will be adjusted? Would this have legal consequences for the employer? Is there any way for those of us who do not take the full hour of lunch, be legally forced to misrepresent our actual time worked on the Kronos system?

    Thank you.

  • #2
    Meal or rest breaks are not mandated by Federal nor Florida state labor code (http://www.dol.gov/esa/programs/whd/state/meal.htm and http://www.dol.gov/esa/programs/whd/state/rest.htm). It's at the employer's discretion if they wish to offer breaks. And *yes* your employer may create a policy that says you MUST take a lunch break. And *yes* you may be disciplined (including termination) for not complying. It does not matter that it was pitched to you as being required by law. If the employer wishes to make breaks mandatory, they may do so.

    However if you work through your lunch break, your employer is required to pay you for that time. Keep in mind that you may be disciplined for disobeying company policy; but your employer may not discipline by withholding your pay.

    If you wish to pursue an unpaid wage claim, It's probably a good idea to keep track of your time so that you document which hours that you were short.

    This answer assumes that you are an adult non-exempt worker whose not employed under an enforceable employment contract or collective bargaining agreement.

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    • #3
      I am employed in FL; Our employer has always stated that it is against the law for an employee to work past 6 hours without a taking a lunch break, Not true in Florida. They never have to give you a break.

      therefore that is the reason for mandating a lunch break that we are technically forced to take. Is this true? No but it sounds like your employer is either (a) confused about the requirements of the law or (b) wants to avoid the hassle of explaining the mandatory break time is company policy.

      If not, is the employer in violation of the law for stating something that isn't true or is inaccurate for the employer's benefit? Nope. It's not illegal to be ignorant about the law or misstate the law, as long as one doesn't violate the law. For example, if breaks WERE mandatory in Florida and the employer said there was no such law AND didn't provide breaks, then they'd be violating the law.

      I'm not quite sure how you see misstating the law in this instance as being in the employer's benefit. There are at least a dozen posts at this site every month from employees complaining that their employer doesn't provide any break time who believe that must be illegal (which depends entirely upon individual State laws.)

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      • #4
        Sorry - I overlooked the balance of your question.

        If the employer allows you to work or "suffers" you to work, non-exempt employees MUST be paid for that time. You can be disciplined for not taking the mandatory lunch break and/or working OT without authorization but you can't not be paid.

        I suggest you stop by and visit with HR or your manager and mention that you and probably others aren't being paid for all the time you work and see if they resolve the situation. If not, then contact the federal Department of Labor and file a complaint. (Florida doesn't have much in the way of wage and hour reg's and a very limited DOL, which is why I'm suggesting you go to the federal DOL off the bat since what your employer appears to be doing is prohibited by federal wage and hour laws.)

        Comment

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