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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    1

    Default When are Employers Required to Provide Breaks or Rest Periods

    My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: Oregon:

    I am working part time in a retail company in the state of Oregon and the issue is that I (and this also applies to my coworkers, although I'm not speaking for them) have read Oregon law as stating anyone who works over 6hrs and one minute to 10hrs, must take 2 break and one meal period.

    But the company that I am working for will have me stay past my scheduled hours (up to 9 hours in total,) with only one break period.

    I realize this is violation of state law, but the job in question has employees that "need" their position, and even seemed ignorant that the law required them to give us meal and rest periods (attrition is high, for their Management and employees....I just had a coworker quit after a month), and I only ask for some direction here, because the state law (below) seems to indicate that I work in retail, so there is an exception (please clarify if that's true).

    An employer is not required to provide a rest period to an employee when all of the following conditions are met:

    The employee is 18 years of age or older;
    The employee works less than five hours in any period of 16 continuous hours;
    The employee is working alone;
    The employee is employed in a retail or service establishment, i.e., a place where goods and services are sold to the general public, not for resale; and
    The employee is allowed to leave the employee’s assigned station when the employee must use the restroom facilities.


    So if they have me scheduled to work 5 1/2 hours and provide me ONE break, but I work up to 9 hours without any further rest periods (incidentally, if we ask for a break, they say yes, reluctantly...but if we say nothing, guess what? neither do they...and that's still a second break), is this a blatant violation I can stop them from doing?

    If anyone has legal advice or needs more details, please ask, or share.

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Oregon Labor Laws

    I did not research this a lot but I find no exception to a retail employee not being allowed lunches or breaks. Here is a page from the state that provides a lot of info on the matter:

    http://www.oregon.gov/BOLI/TA/Pages/...iod_Rules.aspx

    I would start with contacting the state to inquire about an anonymous complaint. If it involves multiple employees, that would hide the identity of the person initiating the complaint. If they will not accept it anonymously, ask if your identity is disclosed or if the investigation is specific to you. If you are allowed to remain anonymous, it would afford the same protections as an anonymous complaint.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    98,846

    Default Re: When are Employers Required to Provide Breaks or Rest Periods

    Quote Quoting Brothic
    View Post
    So if they have me scheduled to work 5 1/2 hours and provide me ONE break, but I work up to 9 hours without any further rest periods (incidentally, if we ask for a break, they say yes, reluctantly...but if we say nothing, guess what? neither do they...and that's still a second break), is this a blatant violation I can stop them from doing?
    Are you stating that they don't allow the required breaks, or are you stating that they don't educate employees as to their rights but will honor all of their legal obligations if an employee asks to take the required breaks?

    There should be a place where the employer has posted labor law posters, explaining basic rights to employees. Does the employer in fact have the required posters in a place where employees can see and read them?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: When are Employers Required to Provide Breaks or Rest Periods

    Mr. K,

    from reading the state's post on the issue, the onus is upon the employer to ensure the employee takes breaks as mandated by law. So much so that in a Q and A on that site, it is asked if the employer can allow an employee to leave their lunch to the end of the day and leave that time early. The response was a definite no. It is required the employee be required to take their breaks in the required time period which is approximately midway in the shift. Other Q and A responses definitely show the employer is required to mandate breaks and lunches be taken when required.




    Q. No matter how often I remind my employee, he refuses to take his meal and rest breaks. Since I have given him every opportunity to take the breaks but he chooses not to, am I in compliance?


    A. No; your employee may not legally waive his rights to receive required rest and meal periods. To be in compliance, you must require your employee to take all mandated breaks, and you may even need to discipline an employee who refuses to do so.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
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    98,846

    Default Re: When are Employers Required to Provide Breaks or Rest Periods

    It's understandable why the BLI would impose such a rule, because it's really easy for an employer to create a context in which it pressures employees to work through their breaks. But what's going to happen if somebody complains to the BLI, "My employer lets all employees take all required breaks, but doesn't actively verify whether or not we've taken our breaks and doesn't make us take breaks if we choose to work through them"? Assuming they have the manpower to investigate, as opposed to simply sending a "please be aware" letter, I would expect the employer to respond, "We cannot schedule break periods because as a retail establishment, we cannot know in advance how busy any given area of our store will be. Employees schedule their own breaks during times when fewer customers are present in their section. Any time an employee has difficulty taking a break, they may contact a supervisor for assistance and we make sure that they get a break. We always grant assistance when asked. No employee has ever complained to us about being unable to take a break."

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    CT & IL
    Posts
    5,273

    Default Re: When are Employers Required to Provide Breaks or Rest Periods

    most states only allow for a 20 min lunch break to be mandatory .... OP has to go and read the statues for his state .. sorry, not familiar with them

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