Are you given sufficient rest breaks at work? Is your personal health at risk due to a lack of consideration by your employer towards break policies? As an employee, you should have proper breaks in the workplace.
Oregon Law clearly states that it is mandatory for employers to grant meal and rest breaks. Any violation of this rule can attract heavy penalties. For instance, the Bureau of Labor and Industries in Oregon recently fined Legacy Emanuel Medical Center for ignoring staff breaks. The Les Schwab lawsuit is another instance of workplace break neglect. The Les Schwab Tire Company was sued in July 2017 for the short meal breaks it gave its employees.
Proper Breaks Result in Better Work Output
An employee with adequate rest breaks at work will have a better work output. The type and frequency of breaks differ based on the specific work you are doing. When the breaks are not allowed, it can affect your health and even lead to safety problems.
In the case of the Legacy Emanuel Medical Center case, not providing enough breaks affected the health care given to the patients. After the lawsuit, the center now ensures that it allows sufficient breaks for its staff.
This resulted in solid improvement in the compliance of staff. The health center was fined $277,000 for its negligence of staff breaks.
Right to Minimal Meal and Rest Breaks
Michael Palmateer, a former employee at Les Schwab, filed a suit against the company. He alleged that the company failed in providing proper breaks to its employees. According to Oregon labor laws, employees should have a meal break of 30 minutes for every six to eight hours of work done.
Since the breaks are recorded accurately, the company will be able to pay for the employees who do overtime. The lawsuit aims at getting back the unpaid wages with interest and all other expenses.
An employee should be relieved of all duties related to work during meal times. If the employee has to work at this time, he or she should be paid for it. Additionally, the time will not be counted as a meal break. When this rule is not followed, it results in lawsuits like those with Les Schwab and Legacy Medical.
How do State and Federal Laws Relate to the Issue?
Federal law allows employers to pay for the breaks provided by employers. The law, however, does not make it compulsory for employers to provide break time.
Oregon and a few other states differ in this aspect. They require employers to allow rest and meal breaks and pay for the time. Employees working on an eight-hour shift should receive two 10-minute breaks. This should increase to three breaks if the working hours are over 10.
Is your employer providing you enough time for well-needed breaks from work? If not, get in touch with us. HKM functions solely to represent employees nationwide. Get the compensation you deserve with our assistance. To get legal help for your workplace break issue, contact HKM Employment Attorneys at 503-389-1130.