Is this considered worked time and payable by employer?

My employer has fixed rules for the use of vehicles. We are not allowed to go to resturants or stores during meal periods or breaks unless in passing during the scheduled meal period. The employer tells us we must take our lunch, yet we are not fully relieved to do so. The work is conducted out of the vehicle at fixed locations owned by the employer.

1 answer  |  asked Oct 31, 2009 10:05 AM [EST]  |  applies to Florida

Answers (1)

Neil Klingshirn
Department of Labor Regulations state that Actual meal periods are not worktime. However:

meal periods do not include coffee breaks or time for snacks. These are rest periods. The employee must be completely relieved from duty for the purposes of eating regular meals. Ordinarily 30 minutes or more is long enough for a bona fide meal period. A shorter period may be long enough under special conditions. The employee is not relieved if he is required to perform any duties, whether active or inactive, while
eating. For example, an office employee who is required to eat at his desk or a factory worker who is required to be at his machine is working while eating.

The restrictions on your ability to go where you please during your meal break may make it compensable hours worked. You can file a complaint with the Department of Labor, who should conduct an investigation. You can also contact an employment lawyer who can file suit.

posted by Neil Klingshirn  |  Nov 2, 2009 6:47 PM [EST]

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