Is it illegal for our employer to dictate what time we can go to lunch?

Posted  02-17-2014

Ann Kiernan replies:

No. Setting work hours, including lunch and break times, is the employer’s prerogative. Neither federal wage and hour law nor that of your state, Michigan, requires meal or break times for adults, but many state laws do. Some even specify exact times, such as the Nebraska statute that mandates ½ hour off premises between noon and one p.m. for factory workers. The federal Department of Labor has a handy chart of meal period requirements under state law.

Information here is correct at the time it is posted. Case decisions cited here may be reversed. Please do not rely on this information without consulting an attorney first.


About the Author:

Ann Kiernan has litigated claims of wrongful discharge and discrimination before state and federal courts and administrative matters before the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, the National Labor Relations Board and the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, representing both employers and employees. Ms. Kiernan co-hosted The Employee Rights Forum, a weekly radio call-in show reaching up to a half-million listeners in the New York metropolitan area, and her articles on employment law have been published in many books and magazines. Both as a firm partner and as a director, Ms. Kiernan gained solid experience in management and human resources compliance. She has worked with Fair Measures since 1997.