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Ask Barrister Your Own Question
Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 35359
Experience:  16 yrs practice, Civil, Criminal, Domestic, Realtor, Landlord 26 yrs
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I have been charged with leaving the premises unattended, I

Customer Question

I have been charged with leaving the premises unattended, I only went to the parking lot with a walkie in my ear. Have I left the premises and should I be held accountable for leaving the premise unattended?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Barrister replied 3 years ago.
Hello and thank you for using JA! My goal is to provide you with excellent service and help with your legal problem.
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I am sorry to hear that you have run into this problem with the employer.
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Were you terminated by Wal-Mart or did you just receive a reprimand?
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Are you under any type of written employment contract for a set period?
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Is there an established HR policy on what constitutes the "premises" and whether progressive discipline is mandatory?
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Thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

 


I recieved a reprimand. I currently work for the company as a salaried employee who is paid for his lunches. FSLA says that an employer who pays employees for lunches can restrict them to the premises.


wal-mart reprimanded me for leaving the premises without defining the premises. I assumed it was the parking lot, they say it was the building...Nothing documented or created in writing to support the claim. What constitutes the premise in regards to the FSLA interpretation?

Expert:  Barrister replied 3 years ago.
What defines the premises is typically determined by the employer's particular policy. But as a practical matter, in most cases, it involves the entire property that the employer owns or leases. This would mean that the parking lot would be considered part of the premises because the employer has the legal right to control any activities there as well as in the actual building.
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I don't see any specific definition of "premises" under the FLSA, so in the absence of direction, you would then look to the generally accepted definition of premises means. One definition is: "in real estate, land and the improvements on it, a building, store, shop, apartment, or other designated structure." Another is: "a tract of land with the buildings thereon".
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Since a paved parking lot would be considered an "improvement" and is part of the tract of land that is leased or owned, I would opine that the premises would legally contain the parking lot as well as the actual building.
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However, the employer would have the right to define premises any way they wanted to in their HR or policy manual and wouldn't be constrained by an actual definition. But if they didn't have an actual definition, you should be able to contest any reprimand by using the definition as it is generally understood.
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With all that said, here is the overriding concern...Unless you are under a written contract for a set term, you are an "at will" employee. This means that they can fire you at any time for any or no reason at all, the same way you can quit at any time. Some employers are notorious for simply terminating an employee if they don't agree with company policy so you would need to consider that when making the decision as to whether or not to contest this further.
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Thanks.

Barrister

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If you need further help, just reply to me via the “REPLY” button and I will be happy to continue.

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I cannot enter into an attorney client relationship, this is a public forum, and all posts are available for public viewing. There is no duty of confidentiality that attaches to any posts. The information provided is not a substitute for a local attorney’s legal advice.