Can I be denied a lunch break if I work 9-10 hour shifts?

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Can I be denied a lunch break if I work 9-10 hour shifts?

I work 5 am – 2 pm at a convenience store. The only “breaks” that I receive is the half a cigarette break about every 3 hours. I’ve never complained even though I’ve wanted to. Now my boss is saying that the owner no longer wants any employee to smoke during their shifts. I said to my boss, “How’s that fair? We don’t even get a break?” She replied that breaks are not required in convenience stores in MA and that the handbook states that. I’ve read the handbook front to back and it doesn’t even touch upon the subject.

Asked on January 19, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

MA law requires that all employers provide a 30-minute lunch period to all employees who work 6 hours or more (the law does not require that the meal break be paid, just that it be given). However, beyond the required meal break, there is no law that requires employers to provide employees with additional rest periods/breaks.


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