State of Oregon Lunch and Break Law

I find that employers and employees alike are often very interested in knowing what meal and rest breaks are required under the law. Oregon is one of 19 states that has specific laws related to this area.

In the state of Oregon, all employees 18 and over must receive a meal break of 30 minutes if they have worked six hours or more. This must be an uninterrupted time period during which the worker is relieved of all of his or her duties, and it may be an unpaid break. The law also states that if the shift is between six and seven hours in length, the meal break must be between the second and fifth hour worked. If the shift is over seven hours long, the meal break should fall between the third and sixth hour worked.

The rule is somewhat different for workers under the age of 18. Minor employees must also be given a 30 minute break after working for at least six hours. However, no matter what the length of the shift, the minor’s break must begin no later than five hours and one minute after the start of his or her shift.

Not all employees are covered by the Oregon meal break law. White collar, salaried employees are typically not required to be given meal breaks. These are usually supervisors, administrative and professional employees. Nurses and others who are under a collective bargaining agreement are also specifically exempted from the rule, as long as their collective bargaining agreement gives specific conditions on meals and breaks.

Employers are also exempted from giving their employees this off-duty meal break if certain extenuating circumstances exist. For example, if the safety of employees, patients or clients is at risk, there is no one to relieve a worker from duty or it is uneconomical to shut down equipment a worker is using, the employee should be permitted to eat a meal while on-duty. In general, the law requires that employers structure the work situation to be able to give employees the mandated meal breaks as much as possible.

Finally, Oregon is also one of a handful of states that mandates paid rest breaks for many workers. Employers must provide employees over age 18 with a paid 10 minute rest break for each four hours (or “major portion thereof,” usually meaning two hours) they have worked. As much as practical, the rest break should be in the middle of each four hour work segment. Employees under 18 must be given a 15 minute rest break for each four hours or major portion thereof.

The same types of workers that are exempt from the meal break law are also exempt from the rest break law. There are also exceptions for extenuating circumstances, similar to those I described above. It is also interesting to note that under the law, workers in Oregon may not choose to waive their right to their rest break. Employers will still be in violation of the law even if an employee works through his or her break by choice.

A listing of all state and federal laws pertaining to lunches and breaks may be found on the Oregon Complete Labor Law Poster. This poster also includes helpful information on many other federal and state labor laws.

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28 Thoughts on “State of Oregon Lunch and Break Law”

Inna

November 4, 2009 at 8:55 pm

If I have my lunch time 6 hr after I clocked on,has my employer any right to order me to work for another 20-30min?
Thanks a lot?

Amelia

November 4, 2009 at 11:18 pm

Hi Inna! We are not totally sure what your question is. Any employer can require that an employee work 20 or 30 minutes longer (at any time) as long as the employer pays the worker for the time. An employee who refuses can be disciplined or terminated. So yes, any employer can require that you stay longer. Oregon law requires that employees be given a meal break on a shift of 6 hours or more. Suppose Tina begins work at 8 am. From 11 am to 11:30 am she is required by the employer to take a 30-minute unpaid meal break, to be in compliance with the Oregon break law. Tina then has to work until 2:30 pm to get her 6 hours in. But Tina’s employer can require that she work longer — it is strictly up to the employer. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

tom chandler

June 5, 2010 at 2:09 am

So, if a worker is designated for a 5,6, or even 7 hour shift,(without a collective bargaining agreement), they can only receive a 30 minute unpaid lunch break and not another 5 or 10 minute break?

Amelia

June 5, 2010 at 8:03 am

Hi tom! No, that is not correct. Oregon law requires that any employee be given a paid, uninterrupted 10-minute rest break for each 4-hour work segment “or major portion thereof.” Anything over 2 hours is a major portion of 4 hours, and the employee is entitled to a break in the middle of that work segment. Example: Juan works from 8 am to 3 pm, with a 30-minute unpaid lunch at 11:30. In the morning, Juan works from 8 to 11:30, or 3.5 hours, which is a major portion of 4 hours. So he is entitled to an uninterrupted, paid 10-minute rest break at around 9:45 am. In the afternoon, Juan works 3 hours, which is a major portion of 4 hours, so he is entitled to a paid, uninterrupted 10-minute rest break at about 1:30 pm. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Read more about this at: http://www.oregon.gov/BOLI/TA/T_FAQ_Restandmeal.shtml

FS

July 2, 2010 at 12:31 am

I drive for a heavy haul company, an hourly position. The half hour lunch break is deducted each day yet the calls are scheduled so close we can’t stop for an actual break. Forcing the driver to eat on the run if at all.
How does this law apply to drivers.
Thank you

Amelia

July 2, 2010 at 9:18 am

Hi FS! If you are actually working (driving) while eating, then the employer is in violation of the Oregon meal break law. However, if the employer schedules enough time between runs so that you could pull over and eat a lunch you brought from home, that would meet the state standards. If you are working through your break and the employer is automatically deducting a half hour, file a wage complaint with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industry. Also file a complaint about not receiving your meal breaks — this law covers all Oregon employers. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

chris allegre

July 18, 2010 at 8:47 am

I work at a gas station. My employer gives us the ‘option’ of having an unpaid uninterupted lunch or a paid interupted lunch. However they don’t ever schedule enough people to actually have an unpaid lunch. When ever we ask our manager to schedule another person, even if its just for an hour or 2 he refuses to do so. So we usually don’t get lunches or breaks

Amelia

July 18, 2010 at 10:49 am

Hi chris! This would not be legal in some states but it is legal in Oregon. The Oregon break law permits the employer to allow a paid, on-duty meal period when giving an unpaid, uninterrupted meal period would be an undue hardship for the employer. Realistically, no one on the planet wants a job where they work a half hour at 12 noon and another half hour at 7 pm, so your plan of having someone come in just for the meal period is not reasonable. It would probably be financial ruin for the employer to schedule two employees all the time. That qualifies as an undue hardship.

The employer should furnish employees with a written notice that they can take a 30-minute onduty meal period and will be paid for it. It appears that your employer is not complying with that law. It is also misleading for him to claim you have the option of taking an uninterrupted meal break.

If you are working a shift of more than 5 hours, you are still entitled to a paid, uninterrupted 10-minute rest break every four hours. There is no exception to that law. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Read more about Oregon break laws at: http://www.oregon.gov/BOLI/TA/T_FAQ_Meal_and_Rest_Period_Rules.shtml.

Tony

August 3, 2010 at 12:58 am

in oregon, do we have to take lunch before first six hour?
can we take lunch anytime we want?
can employer force us to take luch within first 6 or 7 hour?

Amelia

August 3, 2010 at 8:41 am

Hi Tony! No, you cannot just take lunch anytime you want in Oregon. Under state law, if the work shift is more than 7 hours, the meal break must be taken between the 3rd and 6th hours. In addition, the employer can determine when the employee takes the meal period, as long as it is within that time frame. Yes, as long as the employer is within that legal time frame, the employer can discipline or terminate any employee who does not take lunch at the time the employer dictates. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~Amelia

Jeff crowther

November 1, 2010 at 3:16 pm

I am given two 15 min breaks and one 30 min unpaid lunch for a shift that runs from 12am to 8:15 am, Graveyard. I would rather not take my lunch break and just work through it and get paid for the 30 mins, MY choice and no pressure from my employer. Do I have to by law take the 30 min lunch? I usually just eat my lunch on my first break and don’t personally need another one.

Amelia

November 1, 2010 at 4:41 pm

Hi Jeff crowther! Unfortunately, if you skip your meal break or your second rest break in Oregon, your employer has broken the law. There are 19 U.S. states that require employers to give meal breaks to employees. In a few of these states, the employee can decline the meal break as long as it is in writing, and the employee does so voluntarily. Unfortunately, Oregon has no such provision.

Even if the law permitted the employer to have you work through the meal break, there is no law that the employer must do so. Many employers require that employees clock out for meal breaks to save payroll dollars.

In some circumstances, as when an employee is working the graveyard shift alone, an Oregon employer can allow the employee to eat on duty. However, most employers would not chance it, given the state meal break law. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

jc

November 30, 2010 at 9:29 pm

Amelia, I was hired by my present company but went through a temp agency for a probationary period. I was told at the time that it would be an undetermined time of probation. That period was 120 days. I was then hired by my present company for full time work but then told I would have to go through another probationary period of 90 days before I could get any benefits, IE, sick, vacation, and holidays. This will bring my total probationary period to over six months. is this legal?
Jeff

Amelia

December 1, 2010 at 7:24 am

Hi Jeff! Yes, this is legal. There is no Oregon law that limits the length of a probationary period.

It helps to realize that these were two separate jobs for two different employers, even though you may have been doing the same work in the same building for both. Initially you worked for a temp agency. Then, you were hired by the company, with a 90-day probationary period. There is actually no law that an Oregon employer must offer sick pay, paid vacations or paid holidays, and no limit on the probationary period. The company does have to provide benefits per any written agreement such as an employee handbook, or per past practice.

Under some circumstances you may be entitled to group health insurance coverage in less than 90 days. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Sally Miller

January 6, 2011 at 2:09 pm

For professional staff is it necessary for them to have the “required” 10 min. break for the majority of a 4 hour workk period?
And, also, if normally people have a scheduled non-paid meal break, if going off site to an inservice, if they are not driving, is it required to pay them for that “meal break” if they ate in car or at inservice?

Amelia

January 6, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Hi Sally! This is actually a fairly complex issue. First, it depends upon whether these employees are exempt or non-exempt, salaried or hourly. We are not entirely clear on what you mean by “professional staff.”

Exempt salaried employees including supervisors, managers, administrators and other white-collar workers are exempt from all the Oregon meal and rest breaks laws. These employees are never entitled to a “required” 10-minute break, or a meal break under state law. However, the whole concept of a paid or unpaid meal break does not apply to these exempt employees, either. By law they must be paid their full salary every week.

The mention of an unpaid lunch break suggests that these employees are non-exempt hourly workers, or non-exempt salaried workers, not exempt employees. Hourly (or non-exempt) employees must be paid for all the time they work, and attending a meeting or inservice training is time worked. So is driving, and time spent in traveling from one worksite to another during the day. Even if these employees are eating at the meeting, or eating while traveling, they are working. This is comparable to an employee eating at his or her desk while working. You can give the employees an unpaid meal break, but you cannot require that they work (travel or attend a meeting) during that unpaid break. If this does not answer query, post a more detailed question and we’ll address it. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Ann

February 21, 2011 at 4:13 am

I work at a gas station and we do not get lunch or breaks. There is usually 3 to a shift. They say they do not have to give us a lunch or break because they have filed a “hardship” with the board of labor. And was approved. Most of us work 8 and 10 hrs shift with out breaks. Is this possible and is it allowed?

Amelia

February 21, 2011 at 8:38 am

Hi Ann! We believe the employer is misleading you, and is in violation of the Oregon meal and rest break laws. As you know, generally an adult employee is entitled to a 30-minute unpaid meal break between the third and sixth hour worked. In addition, employees are entitled to two paid 10-minute rest breaks per shift.

There are some exceptions under Oregon law when it is a hardship for the employer to provide a break where the employee is completely relieved of all duties. However, even under that exception, the employee must be given sufficient time on duty to eat a meal, and to rest. For example, consider Thelma, a convenience store clerk working a night shift alone. It would not be practical for her employer to have another worker come in for 30 minutes at 2 am to relieve Thelma for her meal break. Instead, Thelma is permitted to eat her meal on duty whenever it is not busy during the wee hours of the morning, and she is paid for her meal break. She is also entitled to two paid rest breaks, and sufficient time to use the restroom.

When this hardship situation exists, under state law employees must be informed in writing when they are hired. Usually this means having the employee sign off that they understand the policy. In addition, the employer must display a notice about the hardship at all times.

It is difficult to see how the hardship applies to this employer, since they have more than one employee working on a shift. The employer can be fined up to $1,000 per employee per day, for violating this law. We suggest that you file a complaint with the Oregon BOLI, the Bureau of Labor and Industry, at http://www.boli.state.or.us/BOLI/TA/contact_us.shtml. It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against a worker who files a complaint in good faith. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Read more here: http://www.boli.state.or.us/BOLI/TA/T_FAQ_Meal_and_Rest_Period_Rules.shtml

March 2, 2011 at 11:25 am

Message: Are the mandatory lunch breaks and rest breaks dependent at all on the size of the company? If you employ less than 15 workers does it matter or is it companies of all sizes?

Amelia

March 2, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Hi Sam! The Oregon meal break law applies to employers of all sizes, including those who have less than 15 employees. It even applies to an employer with 1 or 2 employees. There are a few exclusions that might apply in your situation.

When it is an “undue hardship” for the employer to provide a 30-minute meal period, the law does not apply. However, “undue hardship” does not mean that it is inconvenient. Examples of undue hardship: 1. A convenience store with only one employee on duty at a time. It would be an undue hardship to hire a second employee, simply to provide meal breaks. 2. A factory where shutting machinery down and restarting it would cost $3,000. Normally there are two machine operators on duty. However, if one calls in sick, the other cannot be given a meal break, because of the expense of restarting the machine.

Even in the case of an “undue hardship”, the employer must still provide employees with enough paid time to consume a meal, rest and use the restroom. In addition, the employee is entitled to all paid rest breaks (one 10-minute break per 4 hour work segment) with no exceptions.

When giving an unpaid meal break is an “undue hardship”, employees must sign a notice that they have been informed of this policy. The form must be kept on file for 6 months after the employee is terminated.

Our recommendation if all 15 employees are at one location, is that you hire one more full-time employee, or two or three part-time employees, and give the current 15 workers each a 30-minute or 60-minute unpaid break. The payroll dollars you save (0.5 hours x 15 employees = 7.5 hours per day) will pay for the additional employee. If you fail to provide meal breaks, the Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industry or BOLI can fine you up to $1,000 per employee per day.

This is a complex issue, so feel free to post more details if you think your situation is not different. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Read more about this at: http://www.oregon.gov/BOLI/TA/T_FAQ_Meal_and_Rest_Period_Rules.shtml

Find the “undue hardship” notice here: http://www.oregon.gov/BOLI/WHD/docs/WH-161.pdf

Cyris

March 15, 2011 at 10:33 pm

So I work in a restaurant here in Oregon, or did work in a restaurant until recently I was let go. The reason my general manager gave was that I was being too argumentative with the managers. My arguments with my general manager mostly had to do with the fact that I was consistently going over 6 hours of work without a break, and was not being given enough time to complete my duties at the end of my shift to be able to get out before I hit six hours. Another argument I kept having with them was the fact that according to them, when you’re on a double shift, if you’ve been given a break after 6 hours, they don’t have to give you another after 6 hours, so you would take a break, then work another 7 to 8 hours. One half hour break for 13+ hours of work doesn’t seem legal to me. One other thing that I always pushed them about was getting a 10 minute break after 4 hours. I’m a smoker and so deter me from taking a break my manager would basically tell me, yeah, I can give you one, but it’s only when I say so, and since its a paid break, I’m allowed to make you stay in the building for it. I’ve also been told that restaurants have different rules regarding how they can run their breaks. Those may possibly be true, but I wanted to check the legalities of all these claims.

Because now I’m filing for unemployment and may possibly be denied because I was terminated rather than laid off and I feel like my last place of employment basically has this “put up or shut up” attitude and takes advantage of it’s employees. I don’t see any of the situations that the restaurant is in being considered an “undue hardship” There are more than ample employees to cover a break, there are times when everyone is under pressure and just can’t get away from what they are doing to supervise someone’s position, but not enough to blatantly let your employees go over 6 hours and not give them any break on a consistent basis.

Amelia

March 16, 2011 at 9:38 am

Hi Cyris! You are probably not going to like these answers, but here they are.

First of all, there are two separate problems here: The state break laws and your interpersonal interactions with your supervisors. Even if an employer is not following the law, it is not appropriate for the employee to become argumentative or unpleasant. In this case, the old adage “two wrongs don’t make a right” is true.

When an employee is in this situation, the employee needs to calmly and tactfully state his case. If the employer still refuses, the employee can file a complaint with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industry or BOLI. However, an employee should never become verbally combative in an effort to “make” the employer follow the law. An employee who does so can legitimately be terminated.

So in a sense you were fired for displaying a lack of interpersonal skills, not for anything having to do with meal or rest breaks. Every job has two aspects: technical skills and interpersonal skills. Technical skills are how well you do the job. Interpersonal skills are how well you get along with people in the workplace. You might want to work on the latter.

On to Oregon break laws: The employer can require that you remain on the premises (indoors) during a rest break in Oregon. You are right that they were doing this specifically to prevent you from smoking. The odor of tobacco smoke is severely unpleasant to many customers, especially when they are trying to eat. Working in a restaurant may not be compatiable with smoking.

Employees are entitled to a 10-minute paid rest break on each 4-hour work segment “or major portion thereof”, meaning anything over 2 hours. And, the rest break should be at about the mid-point of the work segment. It sounds like you were being given rest breaks but were annoyed because you could not smoke.

As far as meal breaks, under Oregon law an employee is entitled to a 30-minute unpaid meal break on a shift of 6 hours or longer. If you were not being given the meal break, you have a legitimate complaint. This is true, even if you were scheduled to work 6 hours but actually worked 6.25 hours or 6.5 hours finishing sidework.

However, you will notice that the phrase we used was “a shift of 6 hours or longer.” An employee who works 8, 10 or 13 hours is not entitled to an additional meal break under Oregon law. Employees who work a shift of 14 hours or more must be given an additional meal break (and employees who work a shift of 22 hours or more must be given a third meal break.) So your gripe about wanting a second meal break after 12 hours was not legitimate under state law. You could certainly request one (tactfully!), but the employer has the right to deny that request.

Under Oregon law, a tipped food server can waive his right to meal breaks (but not rest breaks) in writing. However, there is no law that he must do so. The employee must be permitted to consume food while working, and if the shift is 8 hours or more the employee must be given a 30-minute meal break where he is relieved of all duties, despite the waiver. It does not sound like this applied in your case.

If you were regularly deprived of a meal break (one meal break) on a shift of 6 hours or more, then you have a legitimate complaint. You should tell the unemployment agency that you were fired when you objected to this illegal practice. Hopefully they will see that and award you unemployment benefits. If you are denied then you should file an appeal. (Privately we will say that you were actually fired due to poor interpersonal skills, and should have handled this situation more diplomatically.) HTH and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Read more about Oregon break laws at: http://www.boli.state.or.us/BOLI/TA/T_FAQ_Meal_and_Rest_Period_Rules.shtml

Cyris

March 16, 2011 at 5:55 pm

You really nailed it, and you’re right, I should have taken the higher road in dealing with my issues with my management. In the future, I’m going to be more careful when lodging complaints about my work environment and treat my job as just that, a job. I got absolutely too personally involved with my bosses.

I have two jobs, the second of which I’ve been with for almost 4 years now, I was a full time employee with benefits and i don’t have this mannerism with my other manager, because she does her job in a professional manner and doesn’t try to be your friend, just your boss. When I started working for this other company two years ago, they’ve promoted this “open door policy” where if you have issues, you’re suppose to be able to come to them and voice them. Alongside that, my general manager has always tried to be everyone’s friend and gets himself way too involved with his employees lives, to the point of making a facebook account and on several occasions in the past has had conversations with me over the internet, some of which he was admittedly intoxicated and too friendly. In that circumstance I should have reported this to his superiors, i was stupid not to, but I let it slide because, hey, my boss liked me, thought I was a good person, why ruin that? There’s also that fear that if you say something to upper management about it, he might get reprimanded but then he may retaliate against you. It’s illegal to fire or retaliate against an employee for that reason, but it happens all the time. I really thought he was a good guy though, he had back surgery about 6 months ago or so and I even went to visit him at his home and brought him a box of chocolates, forced my boyfriend who also works in this same restaurant to go with me, even though he thought our boss was a tool.

That being said, I felt I could talk to him about my issues, and i took what I thought was respect for my opinion too far. I have one assistant manager there that I was constantly getting into it with, and sometimes I think he just liked to start stuff with me, because later on he’d be all smiles and jokes and we’d laugh about it, he’d even tell me that I was his favorite because I made his job interesting and i wouldn’t take his bs. I liked the fact that I felt like I had a voice and could be honest, but that can be taken too far.

I also realize that being a smoker is not conducive to working in a restaurant, but this same manager was the one who would give me a hard time about it, being a smoker himself he was often outside when we needed him. I would estimate that about 60% of our employees are smokers, and 2 out of 4 managers are smokers. But most people don’t bother asking for a break, they just sneak outside. When I wait tables, I don’t step outside or even ask until after all my tables are done, merely for the fact that it’s not good for MY income, I live on my tips and the last thing I want to do is offend my guests. My issue was when I’ve been on the clock for 4 or 5 hours, my section is clean and all i have left to do is side work in the kitchen, where I’m not even around guests, instead of allowing me me step out for a break, they would want me to finish the rest of my work and get off the clock first. Seems really petty to me.

I have other issues with this company stemming past just their break policies, they are inconsistent with how they run their shifts, there’s constant fights amongst employees, and our kitchen is disgusting. I don’t know how many times I’ve see plates and coffee cups wiped down because they still have residual food on them, hell, one time I accidentally served a cup of tea that still had a lipstick print on the rim. We’re a corporate chain restaurant, not some mom and pop diner, this stuff shouldn’t be an issue. The fact that we’re constantly fogging for cockroaches and still finding them days later alive in our soup ladles and crispy fried in the deep fryer is disgusting.

They probably did me a favor by letting me go, because I would have went on working in these conditions just like everyone else without saying a word, I’d voice myself to them but I would have never taken it past that to upper management or even ODL, which would have been the smart thing to do, I might have even had a job still.

I thank you for your information, it really has been helpful, and I’m sorry for the essay. I do have one more question because it just seems off to me.. So if an employee works 14 hours, they are entitled to a second break, I understand that. But is there no regulation against an employer making someone take a break after 4 or 5 hours then working them another 8 or 9 hours straight? Seems like kind of a flawed system… it would make more sense to me that instead of it being based on hours worked total, it should be based on how many hours they’ve been working.

Amelia

March 16, 2011 at 6:17 pm

Hi again Cyris! Thanks!! We were so worried you would be offended. We have made the same mistake a bunch of times. It’s really just live and learn. And you are totally right — many times when we take a job too seriously, it causes problems.

To address the other issues…

Again, you are totally right. Many managers try to be “buddies” with their employees. But in reality, a certain amount of distance makes for a more professional relationship at work. Our experience has been that bosses who are overly friendly can easily turn on you. That’s because they are treating their work relationships like personal relationships.

If other employees were allowed to take smoke breaks while on the clock, this may have been illegal discrimination based on race, color, sex, age, etc.

As far as meal breaks go, the Oregon law is that the employee is entitled to two 30-minute breaks on a shift of 14 hours or more. When a shift is longer than 7 hours, the first meal break must be between the 3rd and 6th hour worked. The law does not address when the second meal break must take place, only that it cannot be at the end of the shift. So an employee who started a 14-hour shift at 6 am would be entitled to a meal break about 11 am, and then another meal break before the shift ended at 8 pm — maybe at 4 pm or 5 pm.

According to BOLI, the employee is not required to work 8 or 9 hours straight. The employee is being given a 10-minute paid break at the mid-point of each 4-hour work segment, for a total of three 10-minute breaks in a 14-hour shift (or four 10-minute breaks in a shift of 14 hours and one minute.) So the employee would start at 6 am, have a morning rest break, lunch, an afternoon rest break, dinner and an evening rest break.

We agree that this system is flawed, but remember that laws are passed by politicians, and politicians are not perfect (to put it mildly.) Some states like Washington do designate the time for subsequent meal breaks, but Oregon does not.

We will also say this: An Oregon employee cannot legally waive his or her 10-minute breaks on a shift of 6 hours or more. So if there was ever a time when you worked 6 hours or more, and did not receive a 10-minute break, the employer is in violation of the law. You could certainly file a complaint with the BOLI at http://www.boli.state.or.us/BOLI/TA/T_FAQ_Meal_and_Rest_Period_Rules.shtml if you wanted to. The fine for this is $1,000 per incident — apparently, that’s per employee per day.

If you file for unemployment, you can certainly use the assistant manager’s kidding remarks as evidence that you were not being rude or argumentative.

Overall we agree that you are better off without this job, so the employer really did you a favor. Sounds like you are better off without them. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Hillary

March 17, 2011 at 11:04 am

I work for a private employer and am paid hourly. I work 8-5 so am required to take an hour lunch. I have worked for this company for 2 years and we have always had a spare office to eat lunch in. They are now hiring another employee to fill this office and there are zero other places to sit down to take a rest/meal break. Is this legal under Oregon law or must they provide a designated place to take breaks where seating is available?

Thank you.

Amelia

March 17, 2011 at 11:38 am

Hi Hillary! There is no law that an Oregon employer must provide a break room for employees. This is true, even if employees are required to remain on the premises for meal breaks.

If there is no break room available, an Oregon employee can be permitted or required to eat her lunch at her desk. As long as the employee is relieved of all work duties, the meal period can be unpaid. However, many times when an employee is eating at her desk she has little choice but to work. In that case, under federal law, the employee must be paid for the entire break. In addition, a working meal break or one that was interrupted would not meet the state requirement for a meal break.

You should speak with your employer about your concerns that if you eat at your desk, you will be interrupted by coworkers or customers and the employer will be in violation of the law. Maybe the employer will designate an alternate location for meal breaks, even if it is not an entire room. If not, your only options may be to eat in your car, or take your lunch off the premises to eat if that is allowed. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Jeremy

November 21, 2014 at 2:54 pm

Say a restaurant is open for dinner only and has its employees work from 1:00 pm — 10:00 pm, which provides for preparation, dinner service and cleanup afterward. The “dinner rush” is always incredibly busy and requires an “all hands on deck” approach. Is it okay to offer the meal period and rest periods before and after the dinner rush even if this means not strictly complying with the rules that require the meal period be offered between the third and sixth hours of the shift and rest periods be provided in the middle of each four hour segment? Would the undue hardship exception apply here? Are restaurants typically permitted to use the undue hardship exception because of issues like this?

Debbie

December 12, 2014 at 1:44 am

I am a full time hourly employee, and was reprimanded today for eating my lunch at my desk even though I was not working. Not that it matters at this point but other hourly employees do the same and were not reprimanded.
we are provided with a lunch room.. Am I violating any state laws by eating at my desk?
In the company handbook there is no mention of where we take our lunch only that it is mandatory that we take an hour lunch.
I don’t know how to handle this comment, and I don’t want to comply, or get fired.

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