Heart Corporation - Can My Company Tell Me What I'm Allowed To Eat?

We recently received this email from an ALT with Heart Corporation:

"My manager told me that I must sit and eat with students during their lunch period. I don’t mind as it is part of my job responsibilities but the manager said I have to eat the school lunch. Worse than that, when I checked the company manual, it said that I am not allowed to eat any outside food at all, even in the teachers’ room. Is this legal?"

Article 6.9 - "Aside from approved ALT-brought lunches, it is not acceptable to chew gum or eat outside food in the school at any time, including the teacher’s room."

Rest assured, none of this is legal. 

While a company can have teachers "eat lunch" with students as part of their working hours, they do not have the legal right to dictate what they eat.

As eating with students is legally considered to be "working time", they must provide teachers with a legal rest break of at least 45 minutes.

Again, neither the company or school has a legal right to dictate what employees eat.

You are free to bring your own bento, free to leave the school and eat at a restaurant, free to buy something at the convenience store and eat it in the teachers' room, and so on, if you wish.

Under the law, the company must provide an area for you to be able to eat - and that means an area where you can eat what you choose!

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