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This is regarding a manager who got fired for not giving…

This is regarding a...

This is regarding a manager who got fired for not giving meal break before 6 hrs.

Lawyer's Assistant: Was the termination discussed with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?

Senior manager and Hr fired

Lawyer's Assistant: Is the workplace "at will" or union? Is the job hourly or salaried?

Him

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

At will

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Answered in 1 minute by:
3/20/2018
RobertJDFL
RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 15,318
Experience: Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
Verified

Thank you for using Just Answer. I am a licensed attorney and look forward to helping you. I understand the facts, but can you tell me what your legal question you need help with is, please?

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
This manager was with the company for 14 years. He got fired for not giving meal breaks to employees within 6 hrs. There was never a warning or written note. Once this issue was brought to the Manager’s attention, he already started correcting the mistake. But still got fired.
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Is it worth filing a lawsuit against the company?
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
He is a salaried employee and and at will company.They didn’t even give a firing letter. Just read it out of an email and let him go paying only his VTOs

Thank you for your reply. I apologize, I was assisting another customer. Please give me a few minutes to type out my answwer now.

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Unfortunately, from the facts you've provided, the manager was an at will employee. At will employment is exactly what it sounds like -the employer may terminate an employee at any time, for any reason, with or without cause. They don't have to give a warning, and it doesn't matter that the manager was with the company for 14 years.

Of course, there are certain times when terminating an at-will employee would actually be unlawful and grounds for a lawsuit.
For example, if the employer is subject to federal and state laws prohibiting job discrimination (as all but the smallest employers are), an employee cannot be fired because of certain characteristics, such as their race, religion, or gender. Similarly, they cannot be fired because they have complained about illegal activity, about discrimination or harassment, or about health and safety violations in the workplace. And they cannot be fired for exercising a variety of legal rights, including the right to take family and medical leave, to take leave to serve in the military, or to take time off work to vote or serve on a jury.

It doesn't sound like, from these facts, this was an unlawful termination. While it was definitely unprofessional, they were within their legal rights as the employer to do so.

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It's also not required that they give him a formal letter. Again, while unprofessional to fire the manager the way they did, it's not unlawful.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
This meal break issue started November of 2017 per HR. That’s when the senior manager made some changes in the workers start time without adjusting their break times.This was brought to the fired manager’s attention by HR in January 2018 and he started giving them breaks on time. Still the senior manager and HR fired him in March at the end of their investigation.

Regrettably, that doesn't change my answer. it's still not an unlawful termination. As an at will employee, they could have decided to terminate him because it was raining out one morning, or because they didn't like the color of his car, etc. Even though he took corrective action, they legally can still terminate him.

Not saying it's fair - I don't believe it is at all -but it is lawful.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
How about if the senior mgr. created a hostile work environment for this mgr. by yelling at him on 2 different occasions. In addition, an assessment was filled out by the fired mgr. Which was requested by district support staff due to complaints recieved by others in the workplace. The fired mgr. indicated lack of leadership by senior mgr. On this assessment. This can be attested to by others in the workplace. Can this be considered retaliation?

The legal definition of a hostile work environment means harassment or disparate treatment on the basis of a protected class (race, religion, age (40+), sex, disability or national origin). Yelling, screaming, bullying, etc does not meet the legal definition. Similarly, retaliation occurs where an employee files a complaint about an unlawful act (such as workplace discrimination) and is terminated or suffers other negative workplace consequences, such as a demotion.

This unfortunately is neither a hostile work environment or retaliation as defined by law.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
On final paycheck, mgr did not receive payment for couple days of suspension pay when placed on suspension before getting terminated. Can anything be done?

Generally an employer can suspended an employee without pay. Now, if there was an employment contract or employee policy (like in a company handbook) that said suspensions are supposed to be paid, and the employer is refusing to do so, they may be able to file a complaint with the Department of Labor for the unpaid wages, or a small claims suit.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
In a small claims suit, can damages also be collected? Typically what % can be asked in addition to lost wages?

You cannot collect for pain and suffering, but a court could award punitive damages if they felt the actions of the company were so egregious as to warrant monetary punishment (hence "punitive"). How much a court could award is within their discretion, but I wouldn't expect it to be more than the amount of the unpaid wages.

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Please let me know if I may provide you with any follow-up information or may clarify my answer for you in any way. Otherwise, please remember to take a moment to leave a positive rating for my by clicking on the stars at the top of the page. Doing so costs you nothing extra, but it is the only way experts like myself are credited by the website. You can always reply back (at no additional cost) after rating should you need additional assistance. Thank you.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I know for a fact the policy I violated is also being violated by other mgrs in other facilities at this company. Can I start an investigation with the state attorney general so they may look into this since I feel I was singled out for some reason and others are not being held accountable like I was.
You can inquire with the state attorney general’s office but I am not certain it’s within their realm. If you are being singled out because of a protected class (race, reliigion,sex, naional origin, etc) or you were terminated because you refused to commit an illegal act, or perhaps in retaliation for say filing for FMLA, or let go because you excercised your right to vote, or serve on a jury, etc., the proper government agency to file a complaint with is the EEOC (www.eeoc.gov). The trouble you will have in any case claim is that as an at will employee your email employer can terminate you for almost any reason. Absent proof that they are doing something illegal, you cannot recover for this, as it would not be a wrongful termination. I apologize, I do not like to give people bad news, but nothing you have told me so far indicates that the employer did anything unlawful.
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
The senior mgr. did make a racial comment about my national origin in which I was offended.
You can certainly file a complaint with the EEOC. You have nothing to lose by doing so. I do caution that as a general rule, absent a pattern of discrimination or disparate treatment, it is not likely to be a successful claim. Courts have ruled that offhand comments, and/or the occasional racial comment does not rise to a discriminatory level.
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Was there any additional information I could provide you or anything I could clarify for you?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Hello Robert, it's been a bit hectic for me but I will surely will rate my experience with you.
Question, I am an exempt salaried employee. When I take my lunch, does it have to be uninteruppted. Asking because I'm always taking my lunch at my desk and working at the same time. Is this considered a legitimate lunch break? Thank you.

I appreciate that, thank you.

Can you tell me what state you're in? Not every state even mandates a lunch break, and federal law does not provide for any type of break or rest periods (hence it depends on what, if anything, state law says).

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
California.

Thank you.

In California, the law is that employees who work at least five hours in a day are entitled to a 30-minute uninterrupted meal period relieved of all duty and employer control. If an employee works 10 hours in a day or more, the employer must provide two meal breaks of at least 30 minutes each. Employers do not have to pay employees for their meal breaks, but the meal breaks must completely relieve the employee of all job duties.

If your employer did not provide you a thirty-minute uninterrupted lunch break or not provide you a lunch break on time (i.e. within five-hour window), your employer is violating the law. Generally, for a missed lunch break, the employer must pay one-hour of pay at a regular rate of pay for each work day when the meal break is not provided; this is often referred to as meal period premium pay. If the additional hour is not paid, the employer may be liable for penalties, costs, and attorney fees associated with not paying the additional hour.

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There are some exceptions -such as if the employer and employee agree to waive the requirement, or for employees in a certain industry, or employees who have a collective bargaining agreement that waives this requirement, etc. None of the exceptions applied to your circumstances.

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The specific Labor Code is here.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Can the employer argue that I chose to take my break at my desk?

Unless there was an agreement between you and the employer that was clear that would be a very hard argument to make. It's the employer's duty to provide uninterrupted breaks for employees, it's not on the employee.

RobertJDFL
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Satisfied Customers: 15,318
Experience: Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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