Dallas, TX -- The Dallas city council is working on a proposal that would require rest breaks for construction workers.
The Fair Labor Standards Act does not require employers to give employees breaks, but they are an optional benefit. However, the Workers Defense Project, an advocacy group, has been pushing for mandatory rest breaks in 2014.
"They are not getting rest breaks," WSP spokeswoman Diana Ramirez said. "Some of them even laughed when I asked [if they got breaks.] They're like, 'What are you talking about?' Our employers would not do that.'"
However, there has been an increase in construction deaths, and some of those deaths can be attributed to the lack of a rest break. One 25 year old died from heat stroke on July 19 when he was not granted a break.
"Since 10 in the morning, he told his boss he was feeling sick," Granillo's father Gustavo said. "All this time he was feeling sick. You could tell he was in agony all this time." OSHA is currently investigating his death.
Since June, 2014, 510 resports have been made to the City of Austin about employers denying rest breaks. Those reports resulted in 146 warnings to construction companies for not having proper signage about the right of workers to take a 10 minute break every four hours.
Construction companies that violate this policy are subject to a $100 - $500 fine for each violation after their first warning.
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