Q: Oregon. 40 hr as security, no breaks. Sup said he would take away our ability to sit as punishment. Legal or not?
Sup said bc people were putting their feet up on the desk, he would take away all chairs so we would have to stand for 8-12 hrs at a time. We do not get any breaks, no meal time or anything. We eat as we are working if we have time and often going to the bathroom we get angry people wanting to leave so we have to rush back asap. Is taking away our chairs as punishment legal?
A: There might be an OSHA regulation that requires chairs, so you might contact BOLI as they enforce OSHA. They also enforce the breaks and lunches, or lack thereof. If the employer also did not pay you for the lunch time, you may have a wage claim/overtime claim. As in, if your shift is 8 hours long, but they take out .5 hours for a lunch, they owe you for that 30 minutes, but if they do not deduct, then you are not owed anything.
The short answer is no, the conditions you are describing are not legal. The threats might or might not be illegal but denying you breaks and requiring you to work over a set number of hours is not allowed.
In Oregon, every employer must post information provided by the Bureau of Labor and Industry (BOLI); this is their website. https://www.oregon.gov/BOLI/Pages/index.aspx
It is important that you speak with an attorney who specializes in employment law to determine what the best course of action is. You can begin by calling BOLI but an attorney will help to ensure the complaint you make to BOLI gets the attention it deserves.
Employers will sometimes try to work around hour, break and wage rules--often supervisors step beyond the boundaries established by the law. Sometimes the supervisor doesn't know the rules but this is no excuse.
It is important to keep records of your hours and your breaks because these will be important parts of any complaint.
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