The employees claim that the company has rules during lunch breaks, such as no reading, no music, no heat or air-conditioning and to guard the manholes that effectively make the rest break part of their normal daily work routine.
Lead plaintiff Deborah Sturgeon and 10 other named plaintiffs from Indiana have sued AT&T Teleholdings, Indiana Bell, Ameritech Services and AT&T Services.
The staff, who work on repairing landline services claim that the company has rules such as requiring them to remain at the site of work during their unpaid lunch breaks. Staff who are mobile can only eat at venues that lie along a GPS monitored route.
Staff who bring lunch are then forbidden from relaxing in the more conventional manners such as reading or listening to music, while in a company van.
The lawsuit is seeking an injunction and punitive damages for violations of the Fair Labor Standard Act, and violations of Indiana's wage and record-keeping laws.
The Federal government does not mandate the provision of lunch-breaks as part of the labour laws, and while individual States can impose mandatory breaks, Indiana hasn't done so yet.
On the web: Court House News
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