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Can my boss deny me a lunch break?

In Connecticut, if you are an hourly worker, your boss must provide you with a 30 minute break if you work a shift of at least 7 ½ hours.  This break has to be given after the first two hours of work and before the last two hours of work.  Read more on the Connecticut Department of Labor website. As usual, there are some exceptions.  The Labor Commissioner can exempt an employer from providing this break if:
(1) requiring compliance would be adverse to public safety,
(2) the duties of a position may only be performed by one employee,
(3) the employer employs [fewer] than five employees on a shift at a single place of business provided the exemption shall only apply to the employees on such shift or
(4) the continuous nature of an employer’s operations, such as chemical production or research experiments, requires that employees be available to respond to urgent or unusual conditions at all times and such employees are compensated for break and meal periods.
This break does not have to be paid; your employer can make you clock out for it.  However, the break has to give you an opportunity to have your meal or rest without having to do any work. If you are required to work at your desk or during your lunch break, then you must be paid for it. It would also be illegal for an employer to make you clock out to reflect as if you are taking a lunch break, but in fact you are required to continue to work through lunch. Also, Connecticut law does not provide for shorter rest breaks, as the laws of some states do.
Think your employer is violating wage and hour laws?  Give us a call! Or visit our website!