Camesi v. University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Describing the policy in question, the Court stated:
“Non-exempt employees are the subject of Defendants’ written “UPMC Compensation Manual.” Although different versions of the Manual have existed, Defendants advise that the relevant provisions have remained materially the same
UPMC attempts to grant a 30-minute meal period for all employees even though meal periods are not required under the FLSA. Typically, this meal period is unpaid. However, meal periods must be counted as hours worked unless all three of the following conditions are met:
• The meal period must be scheduled for 30 minutes;
• The employee is completely relieved of all duties during the meal period; and
• The employee is free to leave the workstation or area.
If a non-exempt employee does not receive 20 consecutive minutes of uninterrupted time it will be considered work time and will be paid. Answering a page or beeper is considered to be an interruption. The time and attendance system (KRONOS) has an automatic feature that will deduct a 30 minute meal period after 5 hours of time worked. If an employee does not receive a meal period and it is to be recorded as time worked, it is the employee’s responsibility to make sure the automatic [meal] deduction is cancelled via the manner designated by the department. Employees must immediately notify their supervisors if they are unable to appropriately record their time.”
Considering the lighter burden Plaintiffs have on this Stage 1 Motion for Conditional Certification, the Court noted, “Plaintiffs have placed into the record the undisputed written policies of UPMC regarding non-exempt employees’ ‘meal breaks.’ By implication, UPMC’s policies dictate that meal breaks lasting twenty minutes or longer, but less than thirty minutes, qualify as ‘bona fide meal periods’ that are non-compensable under the FLSA. See 29 C.F.R § 785.19(a) ( “Section 785.19(a)“). At least for the purposes of conditional certification, Defendants’ position is unsupported by Section 785.19(a):
Bona fide meal periods are not worktime. Bona fide meal periods do not include coffee breaks or time for snacks. These are rest periods. The employee must be completely relieved from duty for the purposes of eating regular meals. Ordinarily 30 minutes or more is long enough for a bona fide meal period. A shorter period may be long enough under special conditions. The employee is not relieved if he is required to perform any duties, whether active or inactive, while eating.
29 C.F.R. § 785.19(a). Lastly, the Court explained, “[i]f ‘special conditions’ warranting a deviation from the standard thirty-minute meal period exist, Defendants have failed to identify them.”