1)Can my company be held liable if an employee decides to leave the building during a paid break or lunch?
2)Can I tell my employees that they must clock out when leaving the building grounds?
We currently allow our employees to leave the building for lunch or breaks as long as they do not leave the office complex and surrounding buildings (Subway, Convenient Store, Restaurant...). We have a new employee that lives across the street from our complex goes home during lunch. Can I tell them that they can not do this? We also have other managers that leave the complex when they want to go to other places for lunch....Is is OK to say that it is not all right for one person and all right for the other (all are paid hourly).
Thanks for your input on this matter.
I'm trying to wrap my brain around this--a company that forbids employees to leave the campus during lunch. It sounds like Jr. High.
I am not a lawyer and have no idea about liability (and for what? Are your employees prone to injuring others or breaking laws?). However, I can tell you right now I wouldn't work for you if you didn't allow me to leave during lunch.
Granted, I only leave the office for lunch about once every other month, but that's beside the point.
If they are hourly employees, why are you paying them for breaks anyway? Of course they should clock out. You shouldn't be controlling what they do on breaks. If they are exempt you probably shouldn't be focused on breaks anyway.
Let people go where they want to for lunch. You can limit the amount of time they have for lunch. (There are laws that vary from state to state on how much time people should get for a "lunch" break.) This limitation on time will probably keep them on the campus.
However, you aren't required to let them leave. From the Department of Labor:
Where no permission to leave premises. It is not necessary that an employee be permitted to leave the premises if he is otherwise completely freed from duties during the meal period.
But, I'd really like to know why you want to prohibit them from leaving in the first place.