Does an employee get paid for time spent taking a client to lunch?

I work as a designer for a small home construction company. I have recently changed to part time hourly. My employer, who is the owner and sales person, scheduled a meeting for me with a client to select products and finishes for her project at various supplier showrooms away from my office. These meetings often are long, sometimes lasting up to 5 hrs. The client was very hungry midway through our meeting so I took her to lunch. I paid for the meal and will be reimbursed by my employer. He will not pay me for the hour we spent at the restaurant, claiming it was my lunch hour. I contend that it is a part of doing business, and it was not my own personal time and related to a project. He has always encouraged me to take clients to lunch (when I was on salary), but I did not think he intended as my personal time. Please inform me if I have a legal claim for my wage to be paid, because this situation is likely to happen again.

1 answer  |  asked Jan 5, 2010 6:10 PM [EST]  |  applies to Ohio

Answers (1)

Bruce Elfvin
Under the circumstances described you should be paid for the time taking the client to lunch, even though the employer could demand that any meal time for you be off the clock, this doesn't apply when you are taking the client to lunch during a series of stops. For you it was good business and you would not have taken the client to lunch on your own. The employer reimbursing you for the expense also shows that it is clearly business purposes. So, on the clock and in the paycheck.

posted by Bruce Elfvin  |  Jan 6, 2010 07:38 AM [EST]

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