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Can Employer dictate WHERE you take lunch?

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  • Can Employer dictate WHERE you take lunch?

    I work in an office setting and share an office with a few others. My boss told us, via email, that we have to stagger our hour-long lunchs so at least two people are still in the office working at one time. That doesn't bother me, but then she went on to say that two of us cannot leave the office at the same time, even if our lunches overlap. If we do, we can only leave together once a week.

    If they aren't paying for our lunch, how can they tell us when or if we get to leave the office to eat? By saying we can only go out, two at a time, once a week, they are basically requiring us to stay at our desks.

    Is this legal?

  • #2
    Of course this is legal. They are not requiring you to stay at your desks. That's YOUR interpretation. Nothing in the law says you get to decide when to take your lunch break.
    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.

    Comment


    • #3
      I guess I wasn't clear enough before. They explicity stated in an email that two people could NOT be out of the office at the same time more than once a week. The only place that leaves is our desks--we don't have a lunchroom.

      The response that this post received seemed uninterested in offering advice, but rather instead in being hostile and unhelpful.

      If anyone else would like to offer their insight, please do so.

      Comment


      • #4
        I can only answer based on the information you provide. I cannot read your mind. Nor do you get to dictate who answers your question.

        It is STILL not clear where the problem is. Okay, say you're eating at your desk. Are you fully relieved of duty? Do you have to answer the phone or do any work during this time? Or do you simply have a half hour where you sit at your desk and eat your lunch but you don't have to perform any duties?
        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.

        Comment


        • #5
          Oh, you want someone else to answer? OK. My answer is "answer the questions cbg asked you." No one can give you an educated response without that information.
          I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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          • #6
            If they're not paying you for lunch, then they can't tell you what to do or where to do it, during lunch.

            I would contact an attorney.

            Comment


            • #7
              The concern expressed by your employer is that there be adequate coverage at the company at all times. This is a valid business concern, as you recognized. It may seem unfair to prevent people from having lunch together, but if it could negatively impact the business then the employer can require its employees to take separate lunches. Really, they can do it for no reason whatsoever, but I thought it would be easier to swallow by relating it to the specific case.

              An attorney isn't going to help you much in this case.

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              • #8
                Contacting an attorney would be pointless as the employer can dictate that employees may not leave the premises during lunch if they choose.

                If the employee is performing any work, they must be paid, but so long as the lunch is duty free, that is all the law requires.
                I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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                • #9
                  Did anyone notice the date on this post?
                  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.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    A post that has not been active for a month can be considered a dormant post, and generally I request that dormant posts be left alone unless you have a question, not a comment, about the law being discussed or else if you are the OP coming back with an update. When I first took over moderating these forums, we had some problems with old posts being resurrected and posters given bad information, so I've limited the reactivation of old posts.

                    Thank you for understanding and complying.
                    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.

                    Comment

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