Is it legal to have an employee work a 7 hour shift with no lunch break?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is it legal to have an employee work a 7 hour shift with no lunch break?

Employer expects an employee to work 2 pm to 9 pm at a retail business in a mall environment as the only employee on shift and behind the counter. Yet, they are not afforded a lunch break to eat. They cannot shut the doors and cannot eat lunch. No breaks either. I can’t believe that this is legal, however the more friction the employee causes the greater possibility he would be let go. They only pay minimum wage to this employee. Does this employee have any recourse and do you have a suggestion to help this situation?

Asked on November 29, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado


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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that most employees do not have a right to rest breaks and meal breaks under state law and there is no federal law giving workers the right to breaks. As unfair as it may seem, unless breaks are provided for in either a union agreement or employment contract, you have no claim here.

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