Can I sue my employer for denying me lunch breaks?

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Can I sue my employer for denying me lunch breaks?

Where I work there is a severe problem with call-ins. Our superivors tell us we can’t take a lunch break. I don’t think it’s fair. He will tell some people they can’t take lunches but other people can. Can my company legally deny me time for lunch?

Asked on October 22, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Here is the law in Wisconsin as to what is known as "meal periods."  You did not indicate if you were a minor or not so I am including the law for both here. There are the standards from the Department of Labor:

"Employers are not required to provide meal periods to adult employees, but it is recommended in the law that employers provide 30 minutes or more for a meal period. However, employers must provide meal periods to all employees under age 18. Meal periods provided to minors must be at least 30 minutes in length, and reasonably close to the usual meal times of 6:00 a.m., 12 noon, 6 p.m. and 12 midnight, or near the middle of the shift. No minor may be employed for more than 6 consecutive hours without a meal period. Employers must pay all employees for “on duty” meal periods. An “on duty” meal period is one where the worker is not provided at least 30 minutes free from work, or where the worker is not free to leave the employer’s premises. Employers also are not allowed to require that meals be accepted as part of the worker’s wages."

So I guess that the answer to your question is yes, you can be denied a lunch break as an adult.  Seems harsh but there it is. 


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