Required to stay on-site during lunch break?

  1. 0
    Does anyone know whether or not it is legal in Tennessee for an employer to require you to stay on the premesis during an unpaid, clocked-out 30 minute lunch break?
  2. 12 Comments so far...

  3. 1
    By law, the required lunch break in TN is 30 min. for very 6 or more hours worked (State Law). In some states if the employee cannot leave the premises, they are not required to log out on the time clock therefore, must be paid during their lunch/breaks.

    You'll probably have to contact a TN attorney or your state's Dept. of Labor to get the answer to your question.
    Murse901 likes this.
  4. 0
    I found this link, but your question is not addressed for TN.

    Note Washington state:

    Counted as worktime if employee is required to remain on duty on premises or at a prescribed worksite.
    http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/state/meal.htm
  5. 1
    Quote from sirI
    By law, the required lunch break in TN is 30 min. for very 6 or more hours worked (State Law). In some states if the employee cannot leave the premises, they are not required to log out on the time clock therefore, must be paid during their lunch/breaks.

    You'll probably have to contact a TN attorney or your state's Dept. of Labor to get the answer to your question.
    Thanks for this and the Washington reference. I did look on the TN DOL website, but all they mention is the same thing you mentioned -- that an employee must receive a 30 minute lunch break if working more than 6 hours.
    sirI likes this.
  6. 1
    State hour and wage laws can only enhance on federal law and not be less than that which the federal government requires. Federal law requires that for the meal break to be unpaid, the employee must be allowed their own time. If the employer requires you to be available (as in not leave the premises), they are required to pay your regular wage for the time of the break (paid break time).

    Seems like your employer is violating the law and if reported could be heavily fined. Many large employers try to bend the rules; but, as is the case with WalMart, they take their chances and usually lose more in the long run, than they saved by enacting illegal policies.

    Try looking in the employee handbook for the actual policy.
    Murse901 likes this.
  7. 0
    Quote from loricatus
    Try looking in the employee handbook for the actual policy.
    Thanks. I just looked up the company policy, and it says that employees can leave the premesis on lunch breaks "as long as business needs allow as designated by each site administrator".

    Unfortunately, I think there's a loophole in that the administrator can make the ridiculous statement that he "needs" all personnel on site at all times (not the case as we do not have individual patient loads, and we only need the clinic staffed by one nurse).

    Do you have a website referencing the federal law stating that employers must pay employees for their lunch break if required to remain on site?

    Thanks for your help!
  8. 1
    Quote from DonaldJ
    Thanks. I just looked up the company policy, and it says that employees can leave the premesis on lunch breaks "as long as business needs allow as designated by each site administrator".

    Unfortunately, I think there's a loophole in that the administrator can make the ridiculous statement that he "needs" all personnel on site at all times (not the case as we do not have individual patient loads, and we only need the clinic staffed by one nurse).

    Do you have a website referencing the federal law stating that employers must pay employees for their lunch break if required to remain on site?

    Thanks for your help!
    https://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs22.pdf

    "Bona fide meal periods (typically 30 minutes or more) generally need not be compensated as work time. The employee must be completely relieved from duty for the purpose of eating regular meals. The employee is not relieved if he/she is required to perform any duties, whether active or inactive, while eating."

    What your handbook is neglecting to spell out is that it has to be an emergency situation and you will have to get paid.
    Murse901 likes this.
  9. 1
    BTW, this is who you should contact to get back lost wages for the unpaid meal breaks where you are required to remain on premesis, although you were required to clock out. Maybe you should post the other thing I linked and this info on the breakroom wall-bet the policy will suddenly change

    Tennessee

    Nashville District Office
    US Dept. of Labor
    ESA Wage & Hour Division
    1321 Murfreesboro Road
    Suite 511
    Nashville, TN 37217-2626
    Phone:
    (615) 781-5344
    1-866-4-USWAGE
    (1-866-487-9243)

    Marcia Collins
    District Director



    Knoxville Area Office
    John J. Duncan Federal Building
    710 Locust Street, Room 101
    Knoxville, TN 37902-2557
    Phone:
    (865) 545-4619
    1-866-4-USWAGE
    (1-866-487-9243)
    Sandra Sanders
    Asst. District Director



    Memphis Area Office
    Federal Office Bldg
    167 North Main Street
    Room 484
    Memphis, TN 38103-1814
    Phone:
    (901) 544-3418
    1-866-4-USWAGE
    (1-866-487-9243)
    Nettie Lewis
    Asst. District Director
    Murse901 likes this.
  10. 1
    In NY and VT we were expected to remain on the premises for our (unpaid) breaks. Annoyed me, I can tell you.
    Murse901 likes this.
  11. 0
    Like These Hospitals Care About The Labor Law.


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