Can an employer tell the employees when they can and can’t take a lunch break?

Get Legal Help Today

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can an employer tell the employees when they can and can’t take a lunch break?

An employee has developed a habit of taking lunch around 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Business hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. This has become a hassle for other employees to cover for them while they are gone for an hour. Could this employee be told their lunch hour needs to be taken between certain hours? The employee was told when they started what hours were acceptible for lunch time. When asked now, they simply respond with,

Asked on May 2, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Iowa

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, to ensure that the flow of work is not unduly disrupted, an employer has the right to instruct its workers when they can and cannot take their lunch break. Specifically, in IA state law only regulates the meal breaks for employees under the age of 16. This is so long as set lunch breaks are not provided for under the terms of a union agreement or employment contract. Bottom line, a company can set the conditions of employment much as they see fit (absent some form of actionable discrimination).

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, businesses have the right and discretion to manage their workflow and schedule, including instructing the employee to take his lunch at certain designated times (or conversely, blocking out some time[s] when they can't take lunch). You can tell him when to take, or not to take, lunch; employers have the authority to make rules at and for work.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption