No Lunch with non-exempts

Reply Wed 19 Aug, 2009 07:57 pm
I recently took a new position as Manager with my Employer which is a Fortune 100 Company that I've been with since 2005. The position that I was accepted was the same as I was doing before just in a different department. I have friends throughout that department and have been advised by Human Resources that I am not allowed to go out for lunch with non-exempt employees. I have never been restricted in my previous role until now that I managing this new group of people. Does my employer have the right to restrict who I have lunch with? I have never had any issues with harassment or even a complaint from an employee about me.
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Type: Question • Score: 3 • Views: 2,054 • Replies: 5
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Reply Wed 19 Aug, 2009 08:10 pm
I wouldn't think so. The operating theory is probably that a non-exempt's time is his own, while your's belongs to the company. I don't think it will hold water, but is this a hill worth dying on?
Reply Wed 19 Aug, 2009 10:22 pm
I live in California where the rules for breaks & meal breaks are a bit different.
Reply Thu 20 Aug, 2009 06:29 am
Have you consulted the Oracle?

I mean the Google.
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Reply Thu 20 Aug, 2009 07:41 am
Are you paid for your lunch time? I did work at one place where they did pay for your lunch hour so I know that some places do, however, for most places lunch time is unpaid. If it is unpaid, it is your personal time and I can not imagine that a work place could impose restrictions during your personal time. Also, is this lunch " at a company café or outside? Again if it is outside the company and during your personal time, I can’t see how they could restrict you legally.

A couple of things to consider: is they may be doing this to prevent any sort of harassment type of issues. Even during personal time, if you are with other employees, especially as a manager, you do need to be careful what you say and how you act. Another item, are you restricting any employees from attending lunch? This can be viewed as favoritism " in other words, you are spending quality time with some people reporting, but not all.

Have you taken an HR legal/harassment type of course? Most big companies do so. These types of issues are outlined and explained in these courses. It may be why HR places such restrictions. And seeing that HR advises against this (rather than actually restricts it), my guess is to prevent any inappropriate appearances. It would probably be best for you to follow their advisement.
Reply Thu 20 Aug, 2009 07:51 am
Welcome to A2K. I agree with Link. It is very easy to fall into traps where a bias is preceived because you always sit with a group at lunch, even if none is intended. Best to steer clear of this pit. Also, you work at the convience of your employer. They don't have to specify a reason to dismiss you. You can legally eat with whoever you want, and they can legally dismiss you for not following abitrary rules. Supervisors who cause employee relations issues find their careers short lived.
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