Boss calls me in for comments made while on break

So I get hauled into the office for a sit down with my boss. He says he has heard that I was “ruining morale” while on break. The thing is, this company has been very good to me and I speak very highly of it, that being said, every job has its little gripes and I may have contributed some, but my overall opinion is very high, heck, it is higher than most.

We don’t have a policy on our behavior outside of work. We can not clock out for our breaks and can not leave property while on the clock, however, we are docked 30 minutes every shift. We are only allowed to take breaks in designated areas away from customer contact (and very near mosquitos). My question is, is this an issue that my boss can discipline me for? He didn’t, other than the talking to, but I am very curious about what responsibility I have during MY break. I know that employees routinely go across the street after shift while in uniform and get completely hammered drunk, and the unwritten rule is “what happens at Kahuna’s stays at Kahuna’s” but why doesn’t that extend to our breaks where we are prohibited from being near customers.

The comments I have said are things like “man, I wish they wouldn’t pull our break stickers” “we have been short-staffed for a while, when are they hiring more folks?” “aw man, that was a long push”

While Florida doesn’t have many break and meal time laws there are some and others that filter down from the federal regulations. It sounds like your employers set of rules have been walking so close to the line that they may have tripped a while ago.

Judge for yourself although it is complicated.

Just do what any truly disgruntled employee would do and start making anonymous complaints to OSHA and any other harassing agency that you can find at regular intervals.

I have read a few employee manuals and there usually is something alluding to bad-mouthing your employer to other employees. It does affect morale, and bosses like to feel that their employees are loyal to them, at least while at work. I agree with your boss that you might need to learn when to snark and when not to. It’s not very professional and does turn you into somewhat of a liability, in their eyes.

That was a pretty interesting link, thank you. It is just recently that they began docking our hours for breaks. It used to be if you worked over 6 hours they automatically deducted 30 min from your time. Theoretically, if you didn’t get a break, you could notify them and they would add it back in. The thing is though, it is impossible to work your full shift and NOT work over 6 hours. On our 12 hour shifts, they deduct an hour. There were so many complaints of not getting breaks they decided to give us a grace period of 45 min before they begin deducting.

Then you throw in that the bar across the street and off property is more protected than an employee only break area as far as “what you can say” it is pretty irritating.

Toss in the fact the boss says he gets spies to go down and listen to us, and the whole thing is fruity.