I do not want to go to mandatory lunch meetings. I feel it is a waste of time for each person at the meeting. If there are seven people in the meeting, and the meeting is an hour long lunch, it is the stealing of seven hours of human freedom.

Acquiescence to lunch meetings is personal acknowledgment that I’m not able to stand up for my own freedom and personal rights of eating lunch by myself. It’s looking myself in the mirror and saying “my boss owns me“.

What are some of your best pushbacks to your boss to get out of going to lunch meetings? I’d like to take this from friendly polite decline but will stand ground if it becomes confrontational. I’d rather exercise empathy, as my tendency is to not shy from confrontation.

  • 3
    What means stealing of seven hours of human freedom? Are you forced to work there? When it's a work meeting over lunch it's still work - paid. Oct 13, 2019 at 18:01
  • 1
    @BernhardDöbler A mandatory lunch meeting in your location would be illegal for the employer to schedule, even if and especially when paid. The location of the OP might be unknown, but if it's unknown, your advice should at least hold for your own location.
    – nvoigt
    Oct 13, 2019 at 19:11

1 Answer 1


This is pretty common in some industries even in the first World. Usually where you're constrained anyway to remain in the workplace until days end. Mostly blue collar though, factory work, forestry etc,. In many forestry roles for example it's desirable for all to have a meeting at lunch, you get paid for how much work you do, multi-tasking your food and directions or plans for the second half of the day equates to you making more money.

If you work in an office and have places you could go for lunch, then just tell them you have a commitment and go.

You'll know better from the response what you should do going forwards. Once the precedence is set you can keep doing it.

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