Dopers, the most polite way to handle this?

I don’t want to upset my Arab-born and bred boss at work. He is a Sandwich Nazi and would crush me into oblivion and/or have my car blown up if I upset him. Well…ok. Maybe not blow up my car, but certainely crush me into oblivion because he is tall and strong and I am short, fat and weak.

I have several issues I’d like to address with him but am unsure as to how to go about it. They are:

  1. the breaks/lunches and lack therof. Usually, I don’t get a break/or lunch unless I beg a mgr on my hands and knees (unless a certain mgr is on duty who seems to be more considerate of short, fat, hungry, pissed off white chicks like myself).

  2. the timeliness of which the schedule for the next week is put out. The workweek is from Monday through Sunday, with the schedule not being put out for the next week until late Sunday evening close to closing time (around 6 pm or so).

  3. The fact that it is often hard to tell whether or not you are going to even get the number of hours you are SUPPOSED to get during any given week. I am a full time employee which you’d think would mean I’d get about 40 hrs per week. This is not so. I can (and do sometimes) get anywhere from 25-40 per week, never sure how many per week I am going to get.

  4. The effectiveness of asking for time off. I asked off for two days this week a month ago, which I DID get. But I was uncertain as to whether or not I was even going to get them off until last Friday afternoon. I realize that time off is a request, not a given, even if you ask for it in the proper amount of time ahead of time (usually 2 wks or so).

  5. He calls me ‘honey’. Not in a gross, lecherous, wanna sex me up way but just because it’s ‘his’ way. He calls all the girls that and while that reassures me, it’s slightly disturbing. I am unsure of how to approach him and tell him how skeeved out I am by him doing this, even if it IS a nonsexual thing.


Im in Ireland, so I imagine some of this is different but technically it should be the same.

1~ If you work over a certain amount of hours a shift, your entitled to a break. Its the law.

3~ If your contracted for 40 hours a week then I think you have a valid complaint, otherwise I dont think anything you can say will change your schedule.

As for a suggestion about what to do about those and the rest, you said yourself your not overly fond of having to talk to the Boss yourself. So why not write it down, and have someone give it to him, and if the rest of the staff have the same complaints you could sign it off as ‘The Staff’ and that way the boss doesnt know who wrote what, and therefore no particular individual gets singled out and gets “crushed into oblivion”.

Regarding breaks and lunches: those are governed by law (The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act does not determine break periods, so you’ll have to find out what laws (if any, it being Texas) govern breaks.) On the other hand, if there is a corporate policy, he may be in violation for abusing it. Texas is one of the states where WalMart was penalized for violating their own work rules. You might print off a copy of the Texas rules or the WalMart case and drop it on his desk. You could make it a “helpful” suggestion that, while you realize it is not that important, you are afraid that if he does not start following the rules, some disgruntled former employee can get him in trouble. In many states, they’ll audit the time cards and compel him to pay back pay to cover the “extra” time worked for everyone who did not get their breaks. (You’re just doing him a favor.) (Of course, if it is a small company with no official rules and if Texas has not set up any protection, you could be SOL.)

If you’re really not into confrontation, I don’t know what to tell you about the scheduing.

Honey? Don’t sweat the small stuff. Mention it, politely, if it really bothers you, but don’t expect him to change. If he calls all females “honey,” you’re never going to make a case for harrassment. (You might try telling him that he should drop it because he could be irritating customers, but I suspect that there are not that many women in that part of Texas who a) really notice, b) don’t do it themselves.)

Breaks and such are required by law, at least in Georgia they are. Is there a way you can (discreetly) complain to higher-ups and let them take care of the problems?

Threaten to get the labor board on his ass if he doesn’t start givin you your breaks. You are owed them BY LAW and he has to give them to you.

If he still refuses, follow through with the threat.

I’m not sure it’s a good idea to threaten to take an action. If action is called for, take it.

Save the threats for the last resort. Start off cooperative while gently reminding him that he is violating your legal rights if he says no. (I don’t know Texas law, but breaks must be required.) What kind of business is this? I know that at least in California, there are different labor laws for the restaurant business, and it’s pretty routine to give no breaks at all, in violation of even the more lenient (to employers) restaurant laws.

IDBB, I do know that in Texas, schedules are required to be posted 48 hours before the beginning of the scheduled week…so your schedule, by law, should be up by Saturday morning at the latest.

Otherwise you are not required to show up, and cannot be fired for failing to do so.

What kind of business is it? If it’s retail/hourly, and you work a six hour shift, you are entitled to one fifteen minute break. An eight-hour shift, OTOH, requires a half-hour lunch and two 15-minute breaks.

Restaurants, as Chula noted, are a whole other kettle of fish; I’ve never worked in a single restaurant where anybody gets mandatory breaks, even when you’re working a double 12-14 hour shift. They violate labor laws in a number of ways (if anyone works in a restaurant in TX I know of some eye-opening laws you probably aren’t aware of) but most retail establishments should be aware of the laws and what you’re entitled to.

But honestly, I can’t think of a polite and effective way to get what you want here; offenses like no-breaks-unless-you-beg and what-not are not oversights on your boss’s part. He knows what he’s doing and he doesn’t care. And if you politely mention it, he’ll probably blow you off, and if you threaten him, you’ll get fired. Not for that, of course, but for something else. I see no way to win here; you can contact the Wage An Hour board, which is a division of the TX Department of Labor, to find out the legality of what he’s doing, but honestly I’d just get another job if this is a real problem for you. If you really feel strongly about it, line up another gig and then report him.

Of course, if you report him while you work there, and then he fires you, you may be able to get unemployment out of him, and possibly sue him as well…but honestly, whenever I’ve encountered people like this, I just get another job. It isn’t usually worth the time and effort to try to fix the situation, b/c things like this have a nasty habit of killing the messenger, and I have a real problem showing up to work for an asshole b/c I don’t like the idea that I’m making him money.

I think looking for a new job might be the best answer.

I once worked for a grocery store that kept playing around with my hours. It was a reverse of your situation, I told them I didn’t wnat to work any more than 16 and they kept scheduling me for 20-25.

Now I’m in Corporate America and while it has it’s disadvantages, you know exactly what your schedule is and there is a in place system for handling grievences.

Audrey–I didn’t know about the Wage An Hour board thingie. I’ll have to check that out now.

I assumed that breaks/lunches varied from company to company tbh. Most places I’ve worked it said in the employee handbook only breaks after you’ve worked 4 hrs but not more than 6 and lunches ONLY if you’ve worked more than 6 hrs.
Thanks, guys.

I’ll let you know what the results are (if any).


I found some information here but as far as I can tell, all is says is that mealtimes are unpaid. Well no shit, Sherlock.:eek:

My boss also makes us clock out for 15 min breaks too, trying to save as much money as he can I suppose.:dubious:


I have a friend from Bangladesh who often calls all men “my friend” and all women “dahling” (even in front of his very feminist American wife). I once teased them about this, and they told me that the reason he does this is because he meets lots of new people in his work as a consultant, and it’s hard for him to remember all the strange (to him) American names.

He’s so charming that he can get away with it. :slight_smile: And he’s not my boss, after all.


While the federal Fair Labor Standards Act requires hourly employees to be paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours in a week, maximum daily hours, lunch breaks, coffee breaks and scheduling issues are governed by STATE LAW. There are several states which do not require employers to give lunch or coffee breaks. I have no idea whether Texas is one of them, and so far there’s been no evidence either way posted to this thread that I’ve seen.

Additionally, as has been mentioned, even if your boss is complying with the applicable Texas and local laws, he might be violating your company’s employment policies. Some courts have held that an employee is entitled to benefits and wage conditions as outlined in the policies even if there’s no violation of state law.

It sounds like if you are really interested in pursuing this, you need to talk to an attorney licensed to practice in your area and expert in the wage & hour laws of your state and locality. He may be able to very quickly let you know if you have a case or not. Many lawyers will give an initial consultation for free.


If my boss made me ** clock out ** for a 15 minute break I’d sit my ASS down! I’m sorry but I was taught that if you clock out, YOU DO NOT WORK. My job sometimes tries to pull this off. They tell me clock out for a break, and I do. Then they ask me to do something that is work related. I’m always a smartass and say, “Sorry, I’m off the clock.”

The break laws are tricky, especially in the restraunt business. Check the local laws in your area, or call the labor board to find out what you are entitled to.

For this and this alone he is at best a jerk and at worst breaking the law.

I think Eve’s suggestion (in another thread) of a SITN might be in order here, too.

According to this site (Texas Legal Services Center), Texas law does not require breaks. But if breaks are allowed, they have to be paid if they’re 20 minutes or less.

You are looking for another job, right?


I am going to contact TLC and see what they tell me about breaks, etc.
When on a 15 min break, we are allowed off store premises, so technically we’re not working. :dubious: And during any break, whether just a short one or a full fledged lunch break, I get my ass as far away from the store as I can and out of their sight so they can’t ask me to come do so and so or whatever while I’m off the clock.

Cliffy–I’m gonna try to go the free route via TLC first instaed of calling a laywer, cuz right now we are sort of well…not exactly strapped for cash, but we don’t have a lot to play with either at the moment.

Some places make you clock out for your paid breaks-but only so they can verify that you took them. Where I worked when I was in high school, this was the practice, but we still got paid for them.