Break-ing The Law

, , , , , | Working | February 26, 2018

(I am a cashier at a department store. It is 4:00 pm, and I am midway through my eight-hour shift. We are very busy, though we have more than enough staff on hand. I approach my supervisor for my lunch break.)

Me: “May I take my lunch now?”

Supervisor: “Sorry, but we are very busy right now. You’re going to have to wait.”

(This pattern repeats every 30 minutes for the next two and a half hours. When I approach her again at 6:30, this happens.)

Me: “Now can I take my break?”

Supervisor: “No. You’re not getting a lunch at all.”

Me: “Excuse me?

Supervisor: “Do I need to repeat myself? You are not getting your lunch today!”

Me: “That’s illegal! The company can get in a lot of trouble for that!”

Supervisor: “Really? Wait here.”

(Soon after my supervisor leaves, she returns with my manager in tow, who brings me to the office.)

Manager: “Is there a reason why you were not taking your break?”

Me: “[Supervisor] wouldn’t let me! She eventually told me I wasn’t allowed to take it at all!”

Manager: “I see.”

(She hands me a clipboard. I immediately realize I’m being written up!)

Manager: “You’re not a good liar, you know. I heard everything from [Supervisor]. I would normally have you fired for this, [My Name], but I’m feeling generous today. But going forward, this cannot happen again, or you will be fired.”

Me: *signing the form* “I should not have been written up for this. I’m going to take this up with [Owner].”

Manager: “You do that, and I will fire you. I dare you.”

(Unafraid of my manager, I followed through and reported the incident to the owner, who was horrified when he heard of it. He fired my supervisor for intentionally breaking state laws and lying to him about it, corroborating his statement with a customer complaint about her cursing me out. The manager was also suspended for two weeks without pay for not investigating enough, and eventually demoted when the owner discovered that my write-up wasn’t the only bogus one she had submitted. For all my trouble, I got three days paid leave and a promotion!)

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