Nurse Sues for Lunch Breaks

  1. 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 practice that was used at my hospital up until about a year ago. Now we have to clock out on our own, but could potentially get in trouble for not taking a lunch break or not being clocked out for a full 30 minutes, meaning we just clock out for 30 minutes whether we are able to take a break or not.

    Memorial Hermann is a large hospital group in Houston. I wonder if other hospitals will change their policies?
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  2. 18 Comments

  3. by   NOADLS
    Quote from Mamanurse90
    Nurses sue over working lunches - Houston Chronicle

    Memorial Hermann is a large hospital group in Houston. I wonder if other hospitals will change their policies?
    No one will change their policy until a verdict is reached. I would love to know more. And if this is class action, that would definitely improve the chances here.
  4. by   Jensmom7
    You do realize that this hospital is violating Federal labor laws? If you contact the Wage and Hour board, they can give you more information.

    I ran into this when I worked nights on a Gero Psych unit. Staffing was one RN and one CNA. This meant that the RN could not leave the unit to eat, and had to be available for anything during meal break.

    Because of this, I put "No lunch" on my time card each and every time I worked. I also contacted Wage and Hour, and had them sent me the rule, that if you are hourly and required to perform any job duties, or be available should any arise, then you are on the clock and must be paid that 30 minutes.

    During a staff meeting, some little pissant suit decided to get in my face and scream at me that I was NOT to ever do this again.

    I calmly handed him the statute, said "If I'm required to be available for work during my meal break, yes I will."

    Never heard another word about it.
  5. by   meanmaryjean
    Quote from Jensmom7
    You do realize that this hospital is violating Federal labor laws? If you contact the Wage and Hour board, they can give you more information.

    I ran into this when I worked nights on a Gero Psych unit. Staffing was one RN and one CNA. This meant that the RN could not leave the unit to eat, and had to be available for anything during meal break.

    Because of this, I put "No lunch" on my time card each and every time I worked. I also contacted Wage and Hour, and had them sent me the rule, that if you are hourly and required to perform any job duties, or be available should any arise, then you are on the clock and must be paid that 30 minutes.

    During a staff meeting, some little pissant suit decided to get in my face and scream at me that I was NOT to ever do this again.

    I calmly handed him the statute, said "If I'm required to be available for work during my meal break, yes I will."

    Never heard another word about it.
    Pissant is a word we don't use often enough- and there are so many of them in healthcare. Wearing suits.
  6. by   HouTx
    Actually, my large healthcare organization (also with a major presence in Texas & Houston) eliminated the "auto deduct" lunch in 2000 after our own internal audit revealed that we had problems complying with Federal labor laws. There was enormous whining an moaning, because we changed the rule for EVERYONE, not just clinical staff. But now, it's not a big deal. A lot of people have a 'timer app' on their phones to help track lunch punch times.... sorry, I don't have the name but I'm sure you could Google it.

    IMO, M-H has no leg to stand on.... they'd better get ready to pony up with "YUUUUGE" fines and possibly back wages for the folks affected. There is no justifiable defense for this ongoing bad corporate behavior. This law has been around for too long. Case law is well developed. It will be interesting to see how it turns out.
  7. by   TriciaJ
    I've always billed for every nanosecond of a missed lunch break. No one has ever tried to intimidate me directly, but the pissant suits were quick with the "Just take your lunch". To me, that always smacked of "Let them eat cake". If they had provided someone to take full responsibility for my patients in my absence, I would have been happy to take a lunch. Otherwise, ka-ching.

    Now, luckily, I have a job where I actually do get a lunch. Heaven.
  8. by   wowohwow
    I bet the pissants in suits make sure they get their lunch breaks though
  9. by   wowohwow
    Quote from meanmaryjean
    Pissant is a word we don't use often enough- and there are so many of them in healthcare. Wearing suits.
    Hilarious name. I think I'll make it part of my vocabulary now.

    Hey, you little pissant!
  10. by   brillohead
    Our lunch gets auto deducted, but we also have the option to punch out "no lunch" when we don't actually get a lunch break.

    I've only used it once at this job, because I've ALWAYS been able to go down to the cafeteria and get some food and come up and eat it in our break room, other than the one shift from heck that I've had so far.
  11. by   sandy79
    In addition to Federal laws, some states such as California have the Fair Employment Act. Employees are entitled to breaks/llunches for a reason. It's to take care of your own personal needs in order for them to maintain good health. Imagine that in Healthcare! I was one of those "pissant" suits (LOL) but recognize the importance of providing relief to the employees I supervised so we made sure there was someone to relieve them when needed... day or night. What some of these other "pissant" suits don't get is that an employer may be subjected to a higher number of disabilities that can result from over worked, stressed and fatigued employees. I have also seen class action suits result from not ensuring employees get regular breaks or lunches. In the end, it will cost the company more due to report offs for sickness, stress or disabilities when employees aren't available to do the work in addition to any penalties or fines once discovered.

    I haven't heard the word "pissant" used in a long time either. I kinda like it
  12. by   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. We have to clock in and out for lunch but it can be entered by a manager if we forget a punch, and they can override with "no lunch taken" if that's the case.
  13. by   DoGoodThenGo
    While federal law is true does not mandate "meal breaks", states are free to do so and some do. New York is one: New York Meal and Rest Break Laws | Nolo.com
  14. by   HairyMurse
    Quote from Jensmom7
    You do realize that this hospital is violating Federal labor laws? If you contact the Wage and Hour board, they can give you more information.

    I ran into this when I worked nights on a Gero Psych unit. Staffing was one RN and one CNA. This meant that the RN could not leave the unit to eat, and had to be available for anything during meal break.

    Because of this, I put "No lunch" on my time card each and every time I worked. I also contacted Wage and Hour, and had them sent me the rule, that if you are hourly and required to perform any job duties, or be available should any arise, then you are on the clock and must be paid that 30 minutes.

    During a staff meeting, some little pissant suit decided to get in my face and scream at me that I was NOT to ever do this again.

    I calmly handed him the statute, said "If I'm required to be available for work during my meal break, yes I will."

    Never heard another word about it.
    "Drops Mic."

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