Must an employer provide its employees with a break room?

My employer doesn’t provide an actual break room. We have a make shift one which is fine but we have no where to store our lunches. We bought a refrigerator with our own money and our director is making us get rid of it because she doesn’t like it. Is this legal?

Asked on March 30, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Federal and many state laws don’t require employers to provide employees with meal periods or rest breaks. However, some states have adopted legislation that requires meal and other breaks, as well as requiring employers to provide areas specifically for the purpose of such breaks if employees are not permitted to leave the worksite. For example, if the employer requires an employee to stay on the premises during rest/meal periods, the employer must provide a break room that is suitable for such purposes (i.e. a room with a table and chairs). In OH, there is no specific law regarding meal/lunch breaks. Accordingly, an employer need not give them; to the extent that they choose to do so, no formal lunch/break room need be provided. 

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