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Does an employer have the right to deny you a lunch break?

New Orleans, LA |

Hi, my brother works for a private company. He has a CDL and drives a 32foot commercial truck. My brother works from 3:30am to noon six days a week. The only problem is his employer refuses to let him take a 30mintue break for lunch. His employer told him the law does not require him to allow his employees a lunch break. The most he will allow is a 10minute break for the entire shift.Is this legal? Please advise. May God bless you for the help you are giving us.

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Attorney answers 1


Unfortunately, no. Neither Federal or Louisiana employment law requires lunch or coffee breaks. However, when employers do offer short breaks (usually lasting about 5 to 20 minutes), federal law considers the breaks as compensable work hours that would be included in the sum of hours worked during the work week and considered in determining if overtime was worked.

Minors who work have to get 30 minutes off after 5 hours of work under La.R.S. 23:213. Others are out of luck. One blogger, at

put it this way:

Many employers realize that truck drivers are probably going to eat at some point during an 8 or 9 hour shift. And, eating while driving is a distraction, which can result in accidents. So, the employer is protecting the employee’s safety, as well as the public’s, by giving the driver a meal break. (The employer is also preventing damage to the trucks, and increases in insurance premiums, by preventing accidents.)

Other employers give drivers meal breaks because they’re just decent human beings and don’t want to see anybody forced to work 8 or 10 hours without a break.

Several states, including California, have laws that require employers to give all workers, including truck drivers, meal breaks. Sometimes employers who do business in several states adopt these policies company-wide. It is more fair, and reduces the risk of discrimination complaints.

Show this to the boss, in a nice manner, and see what he says. Good luck.

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