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in the state of NJ can an employee refuse to take a lunch break

and leave early. position is...
in the state of NJ can an employee refuse to take a lunch break and leave early. position is non customer facing
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Answered in 2 minutes by:
5/14/2013
ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 17,527
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
Verified

ScottyMacEsq :

Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am researching your issue and will respond shortly.

ScottyMacEsq :

If the employer consents, absolutely. Lunch breaks are not required under Federal law, and in NJ, the mandatory break law only applies to minors under the age of 18 and they must be given a thirty (30) minute meal period after five (5) consecutive hours of work. Company policy dictates break and lunch periods for anyone over the age of 18.

ScottyMacEsq :

But there's no right to work through lunch.

ScottyMacEsq :

That is, if the employer wants the employee to take a 30 minute or hour lunch, the employee does not have the option (without the consent of the employer) to refuse to do that.

ScottyMacEsq :

This is within the discretion of the employer pertaining to scheduling. The employer can set the hours of work, the conditions, etc...

ScottyMacEsq :

So while the employee is not legally required to have a lunch period, it's up to the employer as to whether or not to let the employee to work through lunch or not.

ScottyMacEsq :

Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX luck to you!

Customer:

Then empolyer in the past has allowed me to work thru my break and is demanding that I taey break The employer has scheduled me to work 7:00 and not scheduled a luch break in the past.

ScottyMacEsq :

I see. The employer has this option, even if the employer acted differently in the past. Only if there is a written employment policy or written contract that gives you this discretion would you be able to "overrule" the discretion of the employer.

ScottyMacEsq :

There's no law that gives you the right to "set your own hours", I'm sorry to say.

Customer:

Define "no right to work through lunch'?

ScottyMacEsq :

I mean there's no right to work through the lunch period that your employer tells you to take (that is, to refuse to take the lunch period and rather work)

ScottyMacEsq :

I've worked for an employer in the past that required an hour lunch (and I did not understand at all why...) It was 55 minutes too long for me, and so I understand what you're going through. But the employer absolutely has this discretion.

ScottyMacEsq :

I know this is probably not what you wanted to hear, but it is the law. I hope that clears things up anyway. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX luck to you!

Customer:

Is there a specific Law or Statute that I can reference..t just does not seem correct/fair especially if I am will working P/T at night and a top performer

ScottyMacEsq :

I understand. No, there's no law because there's no law... Employment laws say what is illegal, not what is legal. So for instance, I can reference the law that requires meal breaks for minors, because it's illegal not to allow for these breaks. But when something is legal, there's almost never a law that says it is so. So there's no law that says that an employer can require you to take a lunch. There would only be a law if the employer was prohibited from forcing you to take a lunch (I hope this makes sense).

Customer:

Great.... "No Law"

ScottyMacEsq :

Another way to put it: everything is legal until there's a law that says it's illegal.

ScottyMacEsq :

You don't need a law that gives you permission to do something that is legal.

ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 17,527
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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ScottyMacEsq
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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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