The following letter was a response to an article about a California legal ruling that found employers have to provide lunch breaks for employees but do not have to make sure employees take them.
“I had an employee who always came in early and would immediately start work. After we got a time clock she would swipe her card downstairs and go upstairs to her office. She was never paid overtime and never expected it.
“On the other hand, another employee was consistently asked to take his lunch and he continually worked through his lunch voluntarily saying he just loved working. He had a conflict with his supervisor and we parted ways. He demanded to be paid over time for all of the lunches that amounted to approximately $3,000.00 in overtime we had to pay him. From that point on the other employee had to come back down stairs and clock in at her appropriate starting time. The company had to send out a memo demanding that all employees clock in and out at the correct times and take their lunches and breaks or be subject to discipline. A prime example of one employee creating a hostile environment.”
— Name withheld