The lunch time wars at Wal-Mart rage on. A class action Los Angeles labor and employment lawsuit over meal breaks has resulted in a $6 million verdict – and the introduction of something known as the “meal break discouragement theory.”
In Hamilton v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., plaintiffs alleged the mandatory security check through which they had to exit and enter during every break consumed so much time, the end result was workers were left with less than their legally protected right to a full half hour for meals during their shift. Beyond this, workers alleged it was overly-intrusive, embarrassing to be required to remove feminine hygiene products from their purses. Break rooms were noisy, crowded, uncomfortable places to be.
It wasn’t that they were ever denied the opportunity to take a meal break. They were, however, soundly discouraged from it. A jury agreed with them, and in April, awarded $6.1 million. Continue reading