Meal breaks in Wa state

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Meal breaks in Wa state

Post  Actongue on Mon Sep 29, 2008 3:29 am

work as a Bartender and Server for Banquets meetings weddings etc in Wa state plus extensive work in the restaurant Industry as a whole.

I Have the following dispute with many Employees and even Employers

Washington State law says that you are required to take a half hour meal (when more working ore the a 5 hour shift) break in your first 5hours with the break not commencing less then 2 and a half hours into your shift and not exceeding 5 hours.

There are numerous times I and many others I have worked with do not get our half hour break until well into the 6th hour of our shift and the Company makes us punch out for a half hour (this was the other day even and we worked 6 hours 45 minutes and then were allowed to take our half hour break (We were required to remain on duty during that whole time. Even our ten minute break did not commence until well into the 4th hour due to Work/poor managment.

The controversey I get into is that The half hour lunch is on the Employers time since we worked over 5 hours without getting the meal break yet Employees and Managers say that no matter what in Washington State The employee has to punch out.

Based on the following from the washington State goverment regarding Meals and breaks I Say that the Employer pays for our half hour lunch break wehn we exceed 5 hours into our shift.

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/wac/default.a...te=296-126-092

(1) Employees shall be allowed a meal period of at least thirty minutes which commences no less than two hours nor more than five hours from the beginning of the shift. Meal periods shall be on the employer's time when the employee is required by the employer to remain on duty on the premises or at a prescribed work site in the interest of the employer.

(2) No employee shall be required to work more than five consecutive hours without a meal period.


Now either I am seriously reading this wrong and am way off or

I am dead on the money when it comes to Meal breaks and that the Companies are Breaking the State Law by making employees punch out for their half hour lunch when we are when the break can not commence in the first 5 hours of a shift.

Due to the nature of the business it is not practical nor is it always possible to ensure the Staff get a half hour break within 5 hours due to Setting up tables putting on the place settings then ensuring the guests and clients get served food. Giving a few ten minute breaks is well within reason and even then some do not give u a ten till well after 4 hours (yet by law it is 3 hours)

The Question is Who is right and my gut and logical instinct tells me I am.:}

I have taken many Business management courses and none ever talk about worker rights which should be Business management 101

Most employers are clueless or jsut ignore the worker rights in our state and most states and hope that Employees are not smart enough to read the placard and to interpret the words into what they really mean

Most Employees assume that no matter how far into their shift that they have to punch out (Washngton State since our law is different then most other States (only 22 i believe have a meal break law and they vary even then from state to state)
Post Moved to Wages & Hours

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Re: Meal breaks in Wa state

Post  JoeC (McGruff) on Sun Sep 28, 2008 6:06 pm

If the employer is not letting you take breaks as outlined by the WAC 296-126-092 http://apps.leg.wa.gov/WAC/default.aspx?cite=296-126-092 then you are entitled to compensation. In Wa state the employer is liable for liquidated damages under RCW 49.52.070 for any willful failure to pay compensations. That would include this instance. Liquidated damages are an amount equal to what is owed.

Attorney fees are also available. You might also be interested in knowing that RCW 49.52.070 imposes personal liability on the business owner, thus piercing the corporate veil. So if the owner has personal assets there may be a source of money beyond the corporate insolvency. If there are multiple claims against an employer, lawyer intervention might well be worthwhile.

In McGruffs travels I found restaurant operators to be abominable managers in general: uniformed,unsophisticated,and often brutish in their treatment of employees. The pay stinks benefits are minimal ,and hiring firing is arbitrary.

Management training if there is any,is rudimentary decision making is autocratic. I have seen plenty of poorly run business,but no where is the misery,and anxiety of the workers more intense then a badly run restaurant.

It's an industry screaming Unionize me,and often someone does,unfortunately not enough.
JoeC


Last edited by JoeC (McGruff) on Sun Sep 28, 2008 6:55 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Meal breaks in Wa state

Post  Actongue on Sun Sep 28, 2008 6:19 pm

Hey Joe
I dosee you are from Wa state too:}

Yea It amazes me how many managers/owners are clueless and do not know the Laws in regards to meal breaks and to even ten minute breaks. Some dont care but many are ignorant of it.

I was trying to tell one of my so called supervisors (I work for a staffing agency that hires us out to different places to help the main staff or we are the main staff depending on the function) That The Hotel we worked at docked our employees a half hours pay even though our lunch break did not start until 6 hours and 45 minutes into the shift........which was 9 hours

She said she knew the labor laws and that they can Dock us a half hour if they want then she said she was too busy to talk and hung up Shocked

When I qworked for my dad I have to admit that i started to punch out after 1 pm only because i liked the shorter shift till i got off work but my dad nixed that right away and explained to me why I cant do it even if it was better off from a production point of vew which in part was another reason why i did it. (also hence why im well versed in the law in our state :} )

there are alot of places though that are real good in giving employees breaks and a paid half hour meal if it exceeds 5 hours heck some even give us a paid meal if under 5 but granted more tend to abuse it then abide by it.

Edit:
I told the manager that I checked out with I did not take a half hour break pirat so least i get paid for my full time there

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Re: Meal breaks in Wa state

Post  JoeC (McGruff) on Sun Sep 28, 2008 6:34 pm

Yes I am from Seattle one other thing if an attorney does not feel the case worth pursuing he will recommend the administrative remedy from L&I. Liquidated damages are not available under the administrative procedure. This is the PDF you can fill out on line with the agency if an attorney declines to pursue. http://www.lni.wa.gov/Forms/pdf/700027af.pdf

Army the moderator is familiar with the administrative remedy proses at the federal level.
JoeC

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Re: Meal breaks in Wa state

Post  Actongue on Sun Sep 28, 2008 7:10 pm

Thanks:}
if it comes up from my co workers i will send them the link
(I informed one of the regular staff that they can not dock her or others a half hour pay since the lunch break was given 6 hours and 45 minutes into the shift and gave her my email address and waiting to see if she contcts me sice she says it happens all the time at her Hotel she works at(oddlyenough that night the washington state republican party fall party meeting was held there: })

I just wish there was a way to educate the employees and Employers in this(and other) States.

One of the guys I worked with said he read the labour laws after I told it to him and said he didnt see where the employer was wrong by making them punch out.

Edit
One of these days when I have worked 3 and a half hours without even a ten minute break I think I will just walk up to the manager and say " have exceeded the time for the ten minute break by such and such amount I will be back in ten minutes then show them the State law in regards to breaks and meal periods"} Twisted Evil

Double edit
I know a JoeG an attorney in Seattle he is a member of my old golf course where I worked at.....:}

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Rest and Meal Periods

Post  ArmyRetCW3 on Sun Sep 28, 2008 7:40 pm

Rest and Meal Periods: Rest periods of short duration, usually 20 minutes or less, are common in industry (and promote the efficiency of the employee) and are customarily paid for as working time. These short periods must be counted as hours worked. Unauthorized extensions of authorized work breaks need not be counted as hours worked when the employer has expressly and unambiguously communicated to the employee that the authorized break may only last for a specific length of time, that any extension of the break is contrary to the employer's rules, and any extension of the break will be punished. 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.
http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs22.pdf

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Re: Meal breaks in Wa state

Post  Actongue on Sun Sep 28, 2008 7:55 pm

ArmyRetCW3 wrote:Rest and Meal Periods: . The employee is not relieved if he/she is required to perform any duties, whether active or inactive, while eating.
http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs22.pdf


The real issue is that many times you do not even get a chance to Eat when you are working till well after the 5th hour or 6th hour yet they try to dock u a half hour when u do get a chnace to sit down ..........I refuse to punch out Twisted Evil
Heck I worked at a private golf course and somedays I was the only person working an 8 hour or longer shift and not once would a manager say hey go take a 5 or ten minute break let alone the half.
Needless to say I took the breaks when I could so I could comply with state law:}

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