Some people at my job have been taking advantage of smoke breaks and doing things against company policies while on break. Management in turn wants to keep employees inside the whole time they are here which includes the breaks we are legally required to have but refuse to pay us for. If they pay us I know we are considered on call but if they don't pay us can they do this?
Generally, smoking breaks and other rest breaks that are between 5 and 20 minutes should be paid. If your employer is not paying you, you may have a wage claim.
With regard to the policy requiring employees to stay on company grounds during the break, this is fairly common and is generally instituted to protect the employer from liability. Employers may enforce such a policy, but need to pay you for the break.
This answer is for informational purposes only and is not meant to be nor should it be considered the providing of legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established. For precise direction and legal advice, please consult in person with an attorney in your area.
To give a fully accurate answer to this question, I would need more information regarding the company and your duties. Generally if while working, the company has a right to manage its workforce and work-site. However, if you are truly entitled to a scheduled break, the company may be in violation if it restricts how you use that time.
If you work more than five hours at a time, this employer is good and screwed up. You should be getting two paid 15 minute breaks, not unpaid. This sounds like a crappy job anyway. Make an IDOL complaint and start looking for a new job. If they fire you, get a lawyer and file a whistleblower case. You are not working for rocket scientists but you are working for bullies.
Our Rating is calculated using information the lawyer has included on their profile in addition to the information we collect from state bar associations and other organizations that license legal professionals. Attorneys who claim their profiles and provide Avvo with more information tend to have a higher rating than those who do not.What determines Avvo Rating?Experience & background
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline