A Starbucks barista said her manager made her take her lunch break two hours into her eight-hour shift, sparking debate about workers being forced to work through rush periods.
The viral video, which has over 103,900 views, was posted Monday by Starbucks worker and TikToker Danielle Sanchez (@thehighbarista). As previously reported by the Daily Dot, Sanchez regularly makes videos about her experience as a barista and has over 13,200 followers.
The video shows the popular TikToker in a back room at Starbucks walking with a coffee and breakfast food item in hand.
“POV: it’s 6:30AM and i have to take a lunch so it doesn’t interfere with peak even though i only got here two hours ago and i’ve still got six hours left of my shift,” the TikToker wrote in text over the video.
“I know there’s gotta be other #baristas who have the same issue…i just dont think it’s right,” the TikToker captioned the video.
@thehighbarista i know there’s gotta be other #baristas who have the same issue 😒 i just dont think it’s right ✋🏼 #baristatok #barista #starbucks #baristaproblems #vegas #lasvegas ♬ Shake It Up With Selena Gomez – Anita Groowe
The video sparked debate in its comments section about workers being pressured to work through busy hours without breaks at regular intervals. One user told the barista to speak with her manager in order to make sure her shift supervisor gave her a lunch break at an appropriate time.
“I am the shift. it’s my manager saying I have to do lunches and breaks outside of peak (7am-9am),” the barista responded in the comments section.
Many users related to the experience of having to take a lunch break early into a shift.
“Me coming in at 4:30 am and taking my half at 5:40,” one user shared.
Users questioned why being forced to take lunch early in a shift isn’t considered to be a workers’ rights violation.
“What i don’t understand is how i can take my lunch an hour into my day and work 7 hours afterwards and it not be a meal violation?” another user asked.
Some users encouraged the TikToker to take her break at a reasonable time and stand up for herself, with one arguing, “The company doesn’t care about you in the end and gotta look out for yourself!”
“I have done that and then *reminded* I can’t run any breaks during peak (if anyone wants to send me proof this isn’t allowed i’ll happily take it),” the TikToker responded in a comment.
In hashtags, the TikToker hints she is located in Las Vegas. According to the Nevada Office of the Labor Commissioner’s website, employers are required to provide employees “a paid, 10 minute break for each 4 hour period of work” and “an unpaid, 30 minute meal period for each 8 hour period of work.”
The Nevada Legislature website says state law mandates rest breaks “insofar as practicable” must be taken “in the middle of each work period” in Nevada. However, Nevada employers can apply to be exempted from these laws if the Nevada Labor Commissioner’s office “believes the employer has shown sufficient evidence that business necessity precludes providing such benefits.” It’s unclear if Starbucks locations in Nevada meet these requirements.
When reached for comment, the Nevada Office of the Labor Commissioner’s office outlined state law regarding “meals” and “breaks.”
“An employer shall not employ an employee for a continuous period of 8 hours without permitting the employee to have a meal period of at least one-half hour,” the representative said of “meals,” adding of “breaks that “every employer shall authorize and permit all his or her employees to take rest periods, which, insofar as practicable, shall be in the middle of each work period. The duration of the rest periods shall be based on the total hours worked daily at the rate of 10 minutes for each 4 hours or major fraction thereof.”
The representative added that “rest periods need not be authorized however for employees whose total daily work time is less than 3 and one-half hours. Authorized rest periods shall be counted as hours worked, for which there shall be no deduction from wages. The law provides for employer flexibility to meet their respective business needs and does not dictate the exact timing of lunch breaks.”
As previously reported by the Daily Dot, other baristas discussed working conditions at Starbucks stores across the country. Specifically, Starbucks baristas have complained about how stressful the morning rush can be for doling out mobile orders. These TikToks come amidst widespread unionization efforts by Starbucks workers across the country this year. Over 200 Starbucks stores have unionized so far.
The Daily Dot reached out to Sanchez via Instagram direct message and Starbucks’ press team via email.
This story has been updated to include a statement from the Nevada Office of the Labor Commissioner’s office.
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