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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 19681
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp in Employment Law
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Covers several areas in NYS. "Labor law" "harassment" (I 't

Customer Question

Covers several areas in NYS. "Labor law" "harassment" (I don't believe NY has laws bully/harass) "discrimination" (I am probably oldest clerical worker) in co's 3 offices "behavioral health" "termination"
Private entity. not state/county
why had choose general
In their employee manual... Which I didn't see until 1.5 mths after hire.. says in more then 6 hr shift employee has to take 1/2hr Unpaid meal break. seems to follow NYS law.
An addition to manual in 2 page addendum that I never received... "no/most other employees were unaware of either States after 4 hrs 1/2 "meal break" must be taken. (in addendum it does NOT say "unpaid" Ridiculous/unheard of if you're only working 4 1/2 hr shifts in course of your part-time job. When I started I did 5 hr days "initially" , which I was told by other employees... Before they deducted time. never informed manager owner ever! to avoid being docked that 1/2 hour which I didn't need/want to take. I was eventually told after 5 hr would be "auto" docked 1/2 hr. my 1st payck. Was short
I called HR they told me they would "override" auto deduct up 6 hr. point(I researched NYS) I guess they had no choice but to "override" auto deduct system since I called HR that's what they have done since Oct. working 6 hr straight not taking 1/2 meal break. I went from working 5 hrs-4 days week to 6 hrs-4 days. Once I called HR back in early Oct & they took auto deduct off. I was perfectly happy i'm there.. I am working... & being paid for all my time
I was told 2 weeks ago I'm rocking boat that it can't continue. other employees are getting wind of it. They set up a meeting w/HR, owner, manager told me they wanted me to sign agreement but they ended meeting forgot/failed to have me sign it "agreeing to taking breaks after 4 hrs." I called NYS depart of m labor gotten different answers to: ***** ***** be "forced" to take " unpaid" meal break after only hours if I'm working 5-6 hrs
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 7 months ago.


Thank you for the information and your question. First, it is entirely up to your employer if they want to mandate a 30 minute break on a more frequent basis than the NYS requires. They must though, at least comply with the law, which applies to most employees (other than single employee shift work), that states that all employees who work over 6 hours must be given a 30 minute meal break. You can see the summary of the law by the NYS DOL at the following link:

Keep in mind though that the employer cannot make the employee work while on that unpaid meal break. If they do allow them to work, they must pay them. But again, the employer can mandate a break, even if the law does not require it.

Please feel free to ask for clarification if needed after you have read the guidance at the link I provided. If none is needed, then if you could take a moment to leave a positive rating in the box above, I will receive credit for assisting you today. Thank you

Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 7 months ago.

Hello again,

I wanted to touch base with you and make sure that you did not have any follow up questions for me from the answer I provided to you on the 18th. For some reason, the Experts are not always getting replies or ratings (at the top of the question/answer page you are viewing or in the pop up box for this question), which is how we get credit (paid by the Site) for our work, that the customer thinks have gone through. In your case I received neither. Please keep in mind that I cannot control the law or your circumstances, and am ethically bound to provide you with accurate information based on the facts you give me even if the news is not good. If you are having technical difficulties with reading, replying or rating, please let me know so that I can inform the Site administrator. Please note that Site use works best while using a computer and using either Google Chrome or Firefox.

In any event, it was a pleasure assisting you and I would be glad to attempt to assist you further on this issue, or a new legal issue,if needed. You can bookmark my page at:

Thank you.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I'm sorry I don't feel like you really answer the ?. I know I provided a lot of information just can't see what I Initially wrote you.
NYS labor dept said that they can make an employee take breaks ALL day long if they want. they just can't be called a "meal break" if it's under a six hour. Which is what they're forcing me to do... Just recently. I work 5 to 5 1/2 hours a day so I lose a 1/2 every day I go in I don't need the break! HR said "they would override the auto deduct after the four hours" and they did it for several months
Thank you
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 6 months ago.

Thank you for your reply. I believe I did answer the question that was asked and the law in NY does not limit when an employer can force an employee to take a meal break. All the law says is that an employer MUST provide a meal break if the employee works over 6 hours. There is, again, nothing that says they cannot mandate a meal break. However, the employee must be completely relieved of duties, as I mentioned, if they are not going to be paid for that time. So, there must be a communication breakdown in your communication with NYS DOL or the employee you have spoken to misunderstands the law. In any event, you can review the law at: