Rules For Breaks???

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about breaks:

What are the laws on part-time work breaks and full-time breaks and lunch in retardants?

Signed, Part-timer

Dear Part-timer:

The Fair Labor Standards Act does not require breaks or meal periods be given to workers. Some states may have requirements for breaks or meal periods. If you work in a state that does not require breaks or meal periods, these benefits are a matter of agreement between the employer and the employee (or the employee’s representative). If you are not receiving the breaks you feel you need to be an effective employee, ask for a meeting with your supervisor to discuss the issue.

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Elder Co-worker Favored

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about favored status of older employee.

I have been working in a small law firm that consists of three attorneys and five assistants. I am an assistant who has been working at this firm for over two years now, and another lady, who is also an assistant, started one year before me. She is the longest employee that works there at the office and then me. This lady is 45+ year old. She’s very close to all the attorneys, especially the one who hires all of the assistants and who also owns the practice. I have had conflicts with her before because I believe in fairness and work ethics. One day, she threw away all plates and eating utensils that everyone shares in the office in the trash. I was not in the office, but another co-worker of mine has told me that the 45+-year-old lady said the kitchen was filthy. Those uncleaned plates and eating utensils were mostly from the attorney who hates to wash and no one washes after her. The lady loves that attorney so much; the attorney was like an angel to her. She has massaged the attorney’s feet in front of everyone. She is a big a?? kisser. Anyways, so after I found out all plates and utensils were in the trash, I thought that was a very unethical thing to do. It would not be so disturbing to me if she asked and tell us to clean even though those dirty plates aren’t mine.

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Acquisition Detours My Upward Career Path!

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a career move due to a merger: Should I wait in my current job till I find a similar or higher position either in the offering bank or any other with an attractive package?

Let me at first thank you very much for your very useful site and effective efforts, I have been enjoying it for about 10 years and it helped me through my career. I’m 40 years old man, have been working for the last 19 years with the same employer who is a French International commercial bank’s subsidiary in Egypt, and for the last 6 years I’m occupying the position of “Head of Trade” at the middle management level.

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Fired–Is This This Something I Can Fight?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about being fired: I believe it’s discrimination because A) I corrected the late situation and there are many others there who are habitually late and B) if they fired everyone with poor attitude the place would be largely uninhabited.

I worked at my workplace for 18 years. Over the years, we’ve had roughly 7 general managers. Over these 18 years, I’ve tended to live my life about ten minutes late. This has never been an issue. The current GM has been there for a year. He also has never had an issue with this. I was always told I was a good employee and I got good evaluations.

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Uneaqual Pay

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about unfair pay: I am paid the minimum wage but my co-worker, who does exactly the same job as me, gets more.

I currently work as a production operator in a factory. I have worked there for 7 years. I am paid the minimum wage but my co-worker, who does exactly the same job as me, gets more. He has been given a pay raise even though my time keeping and punctuality are much better. I feel, as though my boss is doing his utmost to make me feel uncomfortable and wants me to leave, but has no reason to sack me. I feel victimized, and my co-worker has also stated that it seems unfair. Is there anything that I can do about this I am extremely unhappy.

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Anti-Semitism???

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about religious discrimination: One of the staff members has taped a poster advertising The Passion of the Christ DVDs on the outside of her office door facing the hallway that I have to pass. Is this legal?

I have a situation at work that I feel constitutes or borders on anti-Semitism. I hope you can advise me as to what my rights are. I work for a non-sectarian association, with 18 employees. One of the staff members has taped a poster advertising The Passion of the Christ DVDs on the outside of her office door facing the hallway that I have to pass. Is this legal?

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One Minute Early or Late Clocking In Penalty!

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about docking for coming early or late:

Is it legal to dock my pay 15 minutes for being 1 minute late/or early to work? My employer says he will dock anyone who clocks in 1 min. early or 1min. late 15 mins.

Signed, Docked

Dear Docked:

Our site does not give legal advice. Even if the one-minute rule is not legal, making a fuss over it would not be worth the time, money, or effort. Your question, however, is more one of bossing and being bossed. Rather than ask is it legal, you should ask why? Obviously, your employer doesn’t want to pay for more hours than is needed. But to clock in a few minutes early should not cost your employer anything and rather than being penalized, should show you are a responsible employee, and if you overlap with the outgoing shift, that should better continuity.

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What The Doctor Needs To Order!

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about new bossy nurse:

I have been working for a local Doctor’s office for about 3 yrs now. At first it was great even though I heard numerous complaints about the head doctor from the other nurses. About 4 or 5 months ago I was made head nurse only to have the 2 long time employees who are part timers threaten to quit because they were not made head nurse. So after one week of being in this position it was taken away from me. I have since tried to go on about my job of course not always being happy with what had taken place but doing my best and still continuing to do 110% of my job, performing the same job duties as before which is what a head nurse does.

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Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary!

Question:

I am a part-time tutor in a local college but was a full-time interim manager of our writing center for 2 months while my manager (I’ll call her Mary) was recovering from cancer. I was told that I was a creative and highly competent interim (student traffic has doubled since the prior semester, I think because of new staff I had to hire) by the Dean of our department; having accomplished many needed projects during my short tenure. It has been a month since Mary has been back and I have resumed my part-time status.

Recently and without prior discussion about the issue, a fellow tutor and I were forwarded a very disturbing email apologizing for a conversation I had with a college administrator where I was accused of being rude and arrogant. This email had a very punitive tone and was forwarded to the Dean. It was later revealed that the complainant meant for her words to be held in confidence. I sent a response defending myself and asking Mary to please discuss any future complaints with me first before making assumptions. I rec’d two more punitive emails that were similarly emailed to the Dean. Realizing that my colleague and I are perceived as clear threats to Mary, we think this hostility will only escalate and destroy our chances of becoming faculty at the college.

We feel demoralized, disrespected and–both of us are middle-aged professionals with master’s degrees and are not accustomed to being treated this way. Please note that although Mary is supposed to be in the Writing Center (WC) where I work helping students, she is rarely there and spends most of her time attending non-WC-related meetings and hobnobbing with senior faculty and administrators. Although my fellow tutor has been at the WC 3 months, she has exchanged perhaps two words with Mary and had to introduce herself (Mary was someone I hired at the recommendation of the Dean.) Note that there has always been a consistent over-reliance on email and cell-phone communication as Mary’s management style.

Do you think my colleague and I are justified in resigning? I just got an assignment teaching a class at the college and have been assured by the Dean that this matter in no way impugns her opinion of me; it does bother that that such a poor manager who is absentee, abusive, and doesn’t defend her own staff is allowed to continue.

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Coughing and No Hand Washing!

Question:

Wow. I don’t think we work in a toxic place, but my seatmates cough incessantly. One or the other always has a cold, or an allergy. Sometimes it’s so bad I can’t hear to talk on the phone. And hand washing??? Forget it! I feel like I’ve over-dosed myself on hand sanitizer just to use a mutual keyboard. The cacophony is making me insane! Help.

Signed,

Sick Environment

Answer:

Dear Sick Environment:

Unfortunately our coworkers do get ill from time to time and contagious illnesses certainly present a big problem in the workplace. To correct this health related situation will require a team effort! Everyone must be aware of their surroundings and their coworker’s best interest.

Ask for a meeting with your supervisor to discuss your concerns and ask for his/her input in correcting or decreases the problem. Try to involve several workers, using a team approach. Come up with suggestions in which all workers agree to do their part. By doing so, you will create a healthier, happier workplace. Best of luck. Gerald Allen, Guest Respondent with HR experience Your concerns spring from both self-interest and WEGO mindedness.

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