Why does my boss only allow me to take lunch when he takes lunch, but then gives me work when he goes out to lunch?

My boss has this silly rule where I'm only allowed to take lunch when he takes lunch. That way, I'm not out of my desk when he's around in case he needs me for something urgent. And the funnier part is, I need to be back at my desk by the time he's back. And there are days when he's on lunch break for only 15 minutes and some days, he's out for a full hour. Either way, I better be back when he's back. And the story gets better... when he steps out to lunch, he gives me a project to do and when he gets back from lunch he asks if the project is done. What the heck? So he wants me to take lunch when he takes lunch, but then gives me work and expects it done during lunch break? Why is he doing this? Does he not realize that I need a lunch break too??

7 Answers

  • 1 month ago
    Favourite answer

    Yeah, so your boss is kind of a jerk - sucks for you. You can either live with it as best you can, or get a new job. Not really seeing a 3rd option here.

  • 1 month ago

    Is there some reason you can't talk to your boss about this issue?  If he's not giving you the breaks the law requires, you absolutely HAVE to talk to him about it. You don't have to be confrontational--but you DO have to tell him you were not able to get a lunch break because he won't let you go at a more convenient time. Don't expect your boss to be able to read your mind or monitor your every move. you have to take some responsibility for this too. 

     In the meantime, bring in some snacks you can keep at your desk--healthy stuff that you can eat while working--and make sure you get something. Don't eat a bunch of candy bars or granola bars or stuff that is high in sugar. Bring something that provides some protein instead. 

    Source(s): Worked in HR for 31 years
  • Eva
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Check on what your state labor laws are regarding lunch breaks. In most places, you must have at least a 1/2 hour break if you work 6 hours or more.  Take your 1/2 hour break when he leaves and then start on any work he left you.  If he comes back early, it's not your problem. If he expects you to work through your lunch, it is a problem. You'll have to keep reminding him that you are entitled to a lunch break and will start on his project as soon as it's over.  You will probably have to do this several times before he gets the hint. Don't let him bully you over this.  It is against labor law for you to work through a lunch break or not be given one. In case of a labor audit, the company could get in a lot of trouble for denying required breaks.

  • Amy
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    He is legally required to give you a break of a certain length based on how long your shift is. 

    When he asks whether you did the extra project, you answer: "No, you told me to take my lunch break when you take yours."

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  • 1 month ago

    I had that same MF problem at my old job.  The boss would give me a stack of work and say I could do it during lunch.  The people at HR said I had to take lunch. Boss said I can't eat at my desk.

    Try to take lunch ... run into boss in the hallway asks what I'm doing...I say lunch and I'm told I can't leave when he is there because of phones...

    ...and then HR still deducts lunch from my pay even though I did not punch out...

    and it took 4 months but I finally got another job with slightly better pay...

    ....my advice to you is look for another job because it WILL GET WORSE!

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    Why don't you ask him for more stability or whatever it is you want.

  • James
    Lv 4
    1 month ago

    Well if you aren't taking a lunch you better be getting paid for the time you were supposed to be at lunch. And if he says you need to be back when he is then you need to tell him that he better tell you what time you need to be back each and every day since he isn't consistent with his lunch breaks or it's not your fault when you aren't around. Don't let him slap you around. When he asks if the project is done then you tell him hell no I was taking my lunch just like you but I'll get started on it now

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