Can my employer force me to take a lunch break?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can my employer force me to take a lunch break?

I’m in Wisconsin, and am a service
technician, so my vehicle is my office.
If I have a service call in a town
that’s an hour away, can my boss require
me to take an unpaid lunch break? I’m
cheap and only eat out once a week,
usually Friday or Saturday night, so
unless I can make it home for lunch, I’d
prefer not to take one. I don’t think I
should have to sit in my vehicle for an
hour doing nothing just because I don’t
want to eat lunch.

Asked on November 6, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Many states have laws mandating lunch/meal breaks. However, if yours doesn't, a commoany can require that breaks be taken. And so long as a worker is not required to perform any of their job duties during their lunch break, then it need not be paid. The fact is that ansent some form of legally actionable discrimination or an employment/union agreement to the contrary, a business can set the conditions of work much as it sees fit.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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