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Manager editing timecard information Tennessee Texas

On Lawyer & Legal » Employment & Labor Law

2,700 words with 2 Comments; publish: Fri, 15 Dec 2006 18:21:00 GMT; (80062.50, « »)

Our company policy handbook states this regarding lunch and breaks:

"For each four (4) hour period worked, the Company observes the privilege of enjoying a fifteen- minute (15) break, as long as the break will not interfere with the quality of work or customer service."

"All employees are granted a thirty minute (30 minute) meal break each day they work six (6) hours or more."

Our workload sometimes doesn't allow for people in my dept. to take the two 15 minute breaks, so sometimes I will punch out for lunch 15 minutes and finish my lunch by taking a 15 minute paid break the remainder of the time. I'm only gone for lunch a total of 30 minutes. This way, I can get back to help out my coworkers and have the benefit of one of my two breaks.

It has come to my attention that my manager has, for the past four weeks, been editing my timecard information and changing my 15 minute lunches to 30 minutes. This is effectively taking money away from me. When asked about this by another manager in a different department, she claimed it was to reduce overtime. She does not seemed to be worried about protecting the company from problems with "disallowing" employees to take 30 minute lunches.

I will also admit, our handbook also says, "Breaks cannot be combined with lunch-break periods." But about half the time, I will only take 15 minutes to eat and get back to work.

My question is this: is it lawful for a manager to edit and employee's timecard information to reduce overtime or pay? Are they not obligated to inform the emloyee of the changes made that reduce that employee's pay?

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    • Here's the problem with what you're doing. Any break of less than 20 minutes is NOT a bona fide meal period under federal law and therefore, must be paid. "Breaking up" your lunch period into a 15-minute meal and a 15-minute break does not meet that requirement.

      However, your employer is also wrong in not paying you for the 15-minute "meal period" because it isn't one by law.

      If the handbook says you can't break up your lunch period, then don't do it.

      If your supervisor/manager calls you back from your lunch period before at least 20 minutes has elapsed, then the whole time is work time. For that, you can file a claim for unpaid wages with the Texas Workforce Commission (or the Tennesse Dept. of Labor, whichever state you work in; you listed two).

      #1; Sat, 16 Dec 2006 03:22:00 GMT
    • For the record, TN law requires a 30 minute unpaid break. So, assuming you are in the first of the two states you listed, not only company policy, but the law, requires that you not break up your time.
      #2; Sat, 16 Dec 2006 06:58:00 GMT