View Full Version : Complaint about Break Room

03-06-2013, 03:59 PM
Not sure where to put this, so please feel free to move this if I'm not correct!

Background: Posting this for a friend. She recently had her break room taken away from her from one of the higher ups. Now let me explain the situation. She works in a place with many different buildings and all of these buildings have one clean-up crew member. These buildings are all part of one big company, and each member of the clean up crew has his/her own break room. She has been working for this company for at least 10 years and has been in this building for 5 years.

Now the hire-ups are suddenly saying her break room is unfit and took it away from her. (Break room was in basement with machines, still is not a big deal because she has a certification in dealing with those machines) So the same day they told her that she is not allowed down there anymore, they take her table away and all her chairs. However they left her locker and supplies down there. It has been about a month and they still have not moved any of her supplies or locker to a new area. She has not been given a new break room yet, but they told her she can walk to a different building for break. Which is unfair because the buildings are far away, it's cold outside, and everyone else with the same job she has has a break room (Not in a basement). Now she really has no where to go during lunch and break except a tiny supply closet for the janitor.

BTW: The perks are too good for her to quit or get fired right now. And the Union is not really helping. Last time someone complained to the hire-ups about a lounge chair getting taken away they took everyone's lounge chair away due to the complaint.

I'm wondering your thoughts on this.

03-06-2013, 04:57 PM
labor board? osha?


There is no regulation that requires any practice to provide a break room for the staff; however, if the practice ALLOWS the staff to store, prepare or consume food on the premises, the practice must provide a place that is free from biological and chemical hazards. In short, the staff can not be allowed to store, prepare or consume food in areas where these hazards exist.

Although this might also screw her over cos ... it also would mean that she can't eat lunch in a supply closet cos of the bottles of chemicals stored there.

03-07-2013, 03:06 AM
If she really wants the same room back, I'd still go to the union. This appears to be what's called "disparate treatment". In other words (if you're unfamiliar with the term), they are treating her differently than everyone else. What about her supplies? How is she supposed to access them if she's not allowed down there? There's also a possible safety issue: What happens if she falls and gets hurt while walking between buildings? And are they allowing her extra time for her break, since it takes longer to get between buildings than it did to her old break room? She may need to push the issue with the union. If her union rep balks, remind him or her of the handy phrase, "Duty of Fair Representation."

That said, she should consider whether she really needs that room, or if another decent room will do. She should talk to the union rep and ask for her/his help in getting management to find her someplace else (not a closet!) to take her breaks and lunches. And if they act pissy about it, refer to the points I made above.