Can I sue my employer for not giving me lunch breaks that are required according to our policy?

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Can I sue my employer for not giving me lunch breaks that are required according to our policy?

Asked on October 2, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Violations of policies can be evidence of impermissible conduct, but are not usually the basis of a lawsuit all by themselves....  mainly, because employers reserve the right to alter policies, especially in Texas which is not thick with unions.  (If it was a union negotiated policy/contract-- the result could be a bit different)   Texas also does not require employers to give lunches or breaks... instead these breaks are usually part of a company's safety program to avoid any safety issues with OSHA. 

To answer your question, with no additional information other than the denial of a break, you could sue your employer, but you would not be successful in getting any relief from the lawsuit.  If you could show that the denial of breaks was for a different reason (like to harass the women and let the men go to lunch), then the policy violation could be evidence of discrimination-- and that's how policy violations are generally used in lawsuits.  If this is not applicable to your situation, then you could still fine a complaint with OSHA for the employer not giving breaks and creating an unsafe work environment.


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