What to do if my boss has us working 10 hour days without a lunch?

UPDATED: Dec 14, 2011

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What to do if my boss has us working 10 hour days without a lunch?

He also states after I left the office to get a haircut 30 minutes, that its terms for abandonment and subject to being terminated. I work 4 days a week with no lunch. We have down time but he wants us to be working on that time too. Is this wrong? Can he continue to do this? Also I am in FL and I know it’s a right to work state. I know everybody doesn’t want me to rock the boat but I think this is wrong. Sometimes we don’t have a chance to get a lunch because of the customers coming in.

Asked on December 14, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Here is the issue. You happen to work in the state that doesn't have laws (read as doesn't mandate) short breaks or meal periods. If you work during your break (short break) and it is less than 20 minutes, your employer is required to pay you. If you take a lunch break, you must be relieved of all of your duties during that time period and you are not paid. Federal law may step in here under the Fair Labor Standards Act (check with the Florida Department of Labor or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). Ultimately, this is not abandonment and his behaviore could be considered harassment. Usually the laws regarding employment at will do apply but he cannot fire you in retaliation if you took an unpaid lunch break.

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