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California: Disciplined for not taking breaks? California

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  • California: Disciplined for not taking breaks? California

    Can an employee be disciplined for not taking a break when he is physically unable to take the break? This is the latest idea by a company with drivers. The drivers get stuck in traffic jams and cannot take a break or meal at the "right" time, unless the driver wants to turn off his truck in the middle of a bridge or freeway. Due to driving large trucks, they cannot just park anywhere either. The employer is disciplining employees for not taking breaks when they cannot get to a place to take the break. How legal is this? What can be done about this? Thanks for any ideas.

  • #2
    It's unbelieveably stupid, but not all stupid is illegal. Generally speaking, the law does not address what an employee may be disciplined for; I think of very few situations in which the law states the employee may NOT be disciplined for something (top of the list is refusing to work more than 72 hours in a workweek).

    But, discipline for not taking a break at a certain time is not one of them. Have the drivers asked what they are supposed to do when they're stuck on the freeway and it's "break time"? Sheesh.
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    • #3
      Pattymd: How about putting the truck in park and creating a traffic jam?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by robb71 View Post
        Pattymd: How about putting the truck in park and creating a traffic jam?

        Hey, I lived in Southern California and did the commute thing until I was nearly 40. You don't need that for a traffic jam.
        I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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        • #5
          Just to clarify, this involves employee drivers during work hours, not commute time. The problem is that if you're a Class A driver, you put your license at risk if you pull some driving stunts or violations. Drivers have asked if the company plans to pay if they have to speed to get to a break location or if they have to park illegally in order to take the break at the right time and are told, no. The managers just say they have to take the break at the right time or the drivers will get disciplined. So, it looks like you're given the option to break the meal law or break another law. Has anyone seen any interpretations on the California meal and break law that address any exceptions for situations like this? This is pretty ridiculous for employees to be disciplined because they can't take advantage of their right to take a break because they physically can't get to the break or are forced to violate a law to take to a break.

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          • #6
            I know the difference between compensable time and commute time.

            My point exactly. It's stupid.
            I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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