Banned From Eating Lunch Together?
Does your company have a similar policy?
Alison Green l Ask A Manager
May 24, 2010
Can they do this, legally? Yes. But that’s a very different question than whether they should.
I’d be interested in knowing the reasoning for this rule. If you’re all in cubicles and there’s no other place to eat, it’s possible that having a group lunch in someone’s cubicle is disruptive to people nearby who are trying to focus on work.
But if this is the case, that should be explained to you, so that you’re not left thinking that it’s some arbitrary edict imposed for no good reason. In fact, the bigger problem than the rule itself is that it was just dumped on you with no explanation, so it made it seem heavy-handed and obnoxious.
It’s also possible that Betty did explain the reason to the supervisor who approached you, and that supervisor is the one who erred when she didn’t share it with you. So until you know otherwise, I’d be wary of assuming that the rule was made because Betty feels left out. That would be so over-the-top petty for a manager that unless you truly have reason to believe this, I wouldn’t jump to that conclusion.
Why not simply ask? Sometimes people get so caught up in this sense of “us versus them” when it comes to dealing with their managers that they make things a lot harder (and more dramatic) than they need to be. Just ask: “Hey, ___ mentioned to us that we shouldn’t eat lunch with each other, and that surprised me, so I was wondering what was behind that request.”
Then come back and tell us what she says.