I realize you didn’t ask for Evil HR Lady’s Advice, but you should have. You see, I understand a jury just determined that you had forced employees to work through breaks and to work off the clock.
This is what we call “stupid” behavior. Sure, you may disagree with Pennsylvania state labor laws. And sure, your employees may prefer to work straight through rather than having to spend 30 minutes, unpaid, in a Wal-Mart break room. But, it’s against the law and you can’t do it.
Understand that? Here is what you should have done and what you should do in the future.
1. Every day run time card audits to make sure that people who worked 6 hours (or whatever the law is for the particular state in question) got a 30 minute lunch break. Every day.
2. Make sure your employees and your managers know that missing breaks is a firable offense. Then follow through. Employees need to understand that if they don’t get a break their manager can and will be fired. Employees also need to understand that they have to take a break. Some will rebel. I don’t care. It’s the law, so they either take it or they lose their job.
3. No more working off the clock. Ever. Again, this needs to be a firable offense for both management and staff. Tell your managers that if they can’t get whatever task done without having people work off the clock then the person who has to do the work is the salaried manager. I guarantee that managers will find a way to get the work done rather than have to do it themselves.
4. Stop putting so much junk in the center of your aisles. I realize this has nothing to do with labor laws, I just find it annoying.
Evil HR Lady