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Employees choosing to have lunch at desk Illinois

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  • Employees choosing to have lunch at desk Illinois

    We have a set 8 hour day 7:30-3:30 for most office employees. We have told them that (and we have a written policy) that they are entitled to a 20 minute lunch break for which they will be paid, but they all choose to eat at their desk while working. We are aware that Illinois law demands a 20 minute break for 7.5 hours worked. Since we are not demanding that they do this, can this create problems for us? Do we have to force them to take that break?

  • #2
    Are we talking about exempt employees or non-exempt employees?
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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    • #3
      non-exempt

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      • #4
        How far do you want to take this? You could go a couple of ways. You could let it go and hope that no one comes along sometime and tries to claim that you did not allow them to take a break. Of course, at best this will be a he-said, she-said situation unless other employees are ready to back you up. You could require that they sign something that agrees that they are doing this voluntarily, but that won't stop someone from claiming they were forced to sign it.

        Or you can put your foot down and say, eating at your desks is not allowed, period, and start writing people up for it. (AFTER you made the announcement, preferably in writing, that it was no longer permitted.)
        The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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        • #5
          I don't want to get to the point of writing people up. There is a break room, but it's not very comfortable to sit in, and it doubles as a training center. I do understand why they eat at their desks, but they also tend to continue working while they do. If we put it in writing that they are entitled to take a 20 minute break, and we don't tell them not to take that break, is it on them for choosing not to?

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          • #6
            You'd probably have to ask the state DOL about that.
            I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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