Naval Academy Owes Back Pay for Lunches not Taken

October 10, 2006 ( - A federal arbitrator has ruled that the Naval Academy will have to pay officers' club employees up to three years of back pay for missed lunch breaks.

The Associated Press reports about 80 current and former employees at the Officers’ and Faculty Club restaurant said they were charged for 30 minute lunch breaks they were not allowed to take. The federal arbitrator said the incidents were not isolated as the Academy claimed.

The school has until October 31 to work out a payment deal with the American Federation of Government Employees Local 896, the union which brought the complaint, the AP said. The union estimates payment to total about $100,000.

A report issued by the union i n September 2005 said the time clock for employees automatically deducted 30 minutes each day for a break, and employees who did not take it would have to fill out a form saying so. The arbitrator wrote in her decision that although the system “usually” worked, “the evidence was strong that many employees did not know that they were supposed to follow that procedure for missed meal breaks; they received no written instructions to that effect; and supervisors did not give clear advice that employees should fill out the schedule change forms,” according to the AP.

Back pay was granted to current and former employees for the period between July 15, 2002, and July 15, 2005.