(a) An employer must allow an employee an unpaid meal break of at least 30 consecutive minutes, if the employee works 7 1/2 or more consecutive hours. The meal break must be given some time after the 1st 2 hours of work and before the last 2 hours. However, this rule does not apply to any professional employee certified by the State Board of Education and employed by a local school board to work directly with children. Also, it does not apply where there is a collective bargaining agreement or other written employer-employee agreement providing otherwise. Further, the Secretary of Labor shall issue rules for granting exemptions in cases where:
(1) Compliance would adversely affect public safety;
(2) Only 1 employee may perform the duties of a position;
(3) An employer has fewer than 5 employees on a shift at a single place of business (in which case the exemption applies only to that shift); or
(4) The continuous nature of an employer's operations, such as chemical production or research experiments, requires employees to respond to urgent or unusual conditions at all times and the employees are compensated for their meal break periods.
(b) Any employer who discharges or in any manner discriminates against an employee because that employee has made a complaint or has given information to the Department of Labor pursuant to a violation of this section, or because the employee caused to be instituted or is about to cause to be instituted any proceedings under this section, or has testified or is about to testify in any such proceedings shall be deemed in violation of this section.
(c) Whoever violates this section shall be subject to a civil penalty of not less than $1,000 nor more than $5,000 for each violation. Jurisdiction of violations of this subchapter shall be in any court of competent jurisdiction.