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Potential Lunch Break violations

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I'm located in NYC.

From Section 162 of the NYS Labor Laws:

"2. Every person employed in or in connection with a mercantile or other establishment or occupation coming under the provisions of this chapter shall be allowed at least thirty minutes for the noonday meal, except as in this chapter otherwise provided. The noonday meal period is recognized as extending from eleven o’clock in the morning to two o’clock in the afternoon. An employee who works a shift of more than six hours, which extends over the noonday meal period, is entitled to at least thirty minutes off within that period for the meal period."

My understanding of this section is that we must have a lunch break within those hours or it does not constitute an unpaid lunch break. I was scheduled 8.5 hours per day, clocked out for lunch, but it was mandated that this lunch fall 5 hours after the start of our shift. All shifts started before 11am. There was only one shift, starting at 8am, where the lunch would fall at the prescribed time. Most commonly the lunch would fall at 2:30 or later.

My question is, what is the general interpretation around this situation? I'm planning a call to the Board of Labor tomorrow (they have crap hours) to see if they'll tell me anything prior to filing a complaint. What I'm wondering about is:

1) Am I entitled to any sort of compensation regarding the breaks not being within 11am-2pm?

2) Does the unpaid break after the period still count as time legally unpaid, or does the lack of compliance mean that half hour should have been paid?

3) Does being terminated recently have any bearing on this? I understand the reasons for my termination to be lawful and within my employer's discretion.
 


cbg

I'm a Northern Girl
I just want to make sure I understand; you have been getting your breaks, they're just not within the proscribed hours. Is that correct?
 

cbg

I'm a Northern Girl
NY can be an odd duck and it's been a long time since I did any work with them. However, IMO what will happen is that your employer will get their wrist slapped and told to be more careful about the timing. You will not be due any compensation, and no, the fact that you were terminated means the DOL will likely see this for what it most likely is - an attempt to get your employer in trouble for firing you, and will not entitle you to anything different.

I might answer this differently if you hadn't gotten the breaks at all, and I could be wrong, but as a former poster here used to say, you have not won the lawsuit lottery.
 
NY can be an odd duck and it's been a long time since I did any work with them. However, IMO what will happen is that your employer will get their wrist slapped and told to be more careful about the timing. You will not be due any compensation, and no, the fact that you were terminated means the DOL will likely see this for what it most likely is - an attempt to get your employer in trouble for firing you, and will not entitle you to anything different.

I might answer this differently if you hadn't gotten the breaks at all, and I could be wrong, but as a former poster here used to say, you have not won the lawsuit lottery.
Thanks for the reply, see what you mean. I do have proof I initiated my inquiries prior to my firing. I even was calling lawyers prior to my disciplinary meeting a couple weeks before my firing. I think the DOL might take interest in the fact that this lunch break crisis has come up as an issue before in the company (leading up to us clocking out for lunch instead of not taking a record)and has been happening for probably since the law was created.
 

xylene

Senior Member
Are you sure your employer doesn't have a DOL exemption?

I've seen that for this. I've seen a 20 instead of 30 minute exemption too.
 
That could be the case. He also didn't have a current minimum wage poster so it could also be he's completely ignorant of certain compliance issues. It's a small company, we don't even have in house HR.
 

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