In the 10 minute rest periods required by law within a shift, are employers allowed to dictate what you do with your time?

Are employers allowed to tell you what you can
and can’t do with your 10 minute rest period?
For example whether or not you sit in a certain
area, go to your car, smoke a cigarette? As
long as you are still on property are they
allowed to tell you what you do with your time?
I understand that a company may have their
own policies on it but if there were no policies
then what does the law say?

I live in Colorado.

Asked on June 12, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

An employer cannot tell you whether to read, or talk to your friends (assuming they are also on break), or to just sit quietly, etc. But an employer may legally designate certain areas for breaks, and require you to use them; can restrict you from leaving the building (e.g. to go to your car); and can ban smoking. These are all considered legitimate restrictions a property owner/renter and/or a business may enforce.

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