Nurse Sues for Lunch Breaks - page 2

Nurses sue over working lunches - Houston Chronicle This hospital takes 30 minutes out of the nurse's pay each day for an assumed lunch break even if one was not taken. This was the same... Read More

  1. by   jdub6
    Quote from T-Bird78
    Actually, there is no federal law mandating a lunch break. My employer has a policy on the time clock system that they are not required by law to provide meal or break periods but they choose to do so. I started researching and there is no federal law on the books for that. I think there used to be but they did away with that.

    But failing to provide a break is not the same as deducting pay for a break that was actually not taken for an hourly employee. Many hospitals/ltc/whatever automatically deduct for breaks after telling employees they should be taking them. They run into problems when short staffing or other issues regularly cause people to miss their break and the employer deducts the time anyway.

    More and more employers are requiring punch in and out for break to prove that people are taking them.
  2. by   Geslina
    Wow. I haven't taken a lunch break in 3 years. I barely take my 15's either, because I like to get out of there at the end of my shift. i tried to get paid for them in the beginning, and was just told that I HAD to take lunch breaks. Puts you in a bind, because they don't like to pay OT where I work either. So, I just eat while I chart, at the end of my shift. It's become routine. Just another wonderful aspect of nursing, haha.
  3. by   Here.I.Stand
    Quote from Geslina
    Wow. I haven't taken a lunch break in 3 years. I barely take my 15's either, because I like to get out of there at the end of my shift. i tried to get paid for them in the beginning, and was just told that I HAD to take lunch breaks. Puts you in a bind, because they don't like to pay OT where I work either. So, I just eat while I chart, at the end of my shift. It's become routine. Just another wonderful aspect of nursing, haha.
    It's not a wonderful aspect of nursing -- as a PP said, it is a violation of the FLSA. Cut & pasted --

    Rest and Meal Periods Back to Top

    §785.18 Rest.

    Rest periods of short duration, running from 5 minutes to about 20 minutes, are common in industry. They promote the efficiency of the employee and are customarily paid for as working time. They must be counted as hours worked. Compensable time of rest periods may not be offset against other working time such as compensable waiting time or on-call time. (Mitchell v. Greinetz, 235 F. 2d 621, 13 W.H. Cases 3 (C.A. 10, 1956); Ballard v. Consolidated Steel Corp., Ltd.,61 F. Supp. 996 (S.D. Cal. 1945))
    Back to Top

    §785.19 Meal.

    (a) Bona fide meal periods. Bona fide meal periods are not worktime. Bona fide meal periods do not include coffee breaks or time for snacks. These are rest periods. The employee must be completely relieved from duty for the purposes of eating regular meals. Ordinarily 30 minutes or more is long enough for a bona fide meal period. A shorter period may be long enough under special conditions. The employee is not relieved if he is required to perform any duties, whether active or inactive, while eating. For example, an office employee who is required to eat at his desk or a factory worker who is required to be at his machine is working while eating. (Culkin v. Glenn L. Martin, Nebraska Co., 97 F. Supp. 661 (D. Neb. 1951), aff'd 197 F. 2d 981 (C.A. 8, 1952), cert. denied 344 U.S. 888 (1952); Thompson v. Stock & Sons, Inc., 93 F. Supp. 213 (E.D. Mich 1950), aff'd 194 F. 2d 493 (C.A. 6, 1952); Biggs v. Joshua Hendy Corp., 183 F. 2d 515 (C. A. 9, 1950), 187 F. 2d 447 (C.A. 9, 1951); Walling v. Dunbar Transfer & Storage Co., 3 W.H. Cases 284; 7 Labor Cases para. 61.565 (W.D. Tenn. 1943); Lofton v. Seneca Coal and Coke Co., 2 W.H. Cases 669; 6 Labor Cases para. 61,271 (N.D. Okla. 1942); aff'd 136 F. 2d 359 (C.A. 10, 1943); cert. denied 320 U.S. 772 (1943); Mitchell v. Tampa Cigar Co., 36 Labor Cases para. 65, 198, 14 W.H. Cases 38 (S.D. Fla. 1959); Douglass v. Hurwitz Co., 145 F. Supp. 29, 13 W.H. Cases (E.D. Pa. 1956))
    (b) Where no permission to leave premises. It is not necessary that an employee be permitted to leave the premises if he is otherwise completely freed from duties during the meal period.
    It's true that a company isn't required to provide breaks...but just the opposite, in cases like this and yours they are REQUIRING employees to take an unpaid 1/2 hr regardless if they actually get the break time. It's not something we should expect, it's not ok and it's not LEGAL.
  4. by   Here.I.Stand
    Quote from wowohwow
    I bet the pissants in suits make sure they get their lunch breaks though
    Hmm my husband is a suit, although not in healthcare (does that make him not a pissant? )

    HE tells me all the time that if we don't get breaks, we need to "bill" for them, not work for free.
  5. by   TriciaJ
    Quote from Here.I.Stand
    Hmm my husband is a suit, although not in healthcare (does that make him not a pissant? )

    HE tells me all the time that if we don't get breaks, we need to "bill" for them, not work for free.
    Your husband sounds like a definite non-pissant.
  6. by   NickiLaughs
    Quote from Geslina
    Wow. I haven't taken a lunch break in 3 years. I barely take my 15's either, because I like to get out of there at the end of my shift. i tried to get paid for them in the beginning, and was just told that I HAD to take lunch breaks. Puts you in a bind, because they don't like to pay OT where I work either. So, I just eat while I chart, at the end of my shift. It's become routine. Just another wonderful aspect of nursing, haha.
    Youre getting screwed, if you and enough nurses complain and sue you may actually get break relief nurses as well as a big fat check for all the money you are owed. I worked for a hospital system that was deducting a second meal break from nurses during their shifts that they weren't taking. One nurse had been there 30 something years and got over 100k, most of the long timers got 20 to 50k. Those little breaks add up. Why should you give your time away for free? Break this culture!

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