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Employer says I am not allowed to heat up my breakfast
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KittyKatty123 · 09/11/2021 16:21

I work full time, 9-5, computer facing all day, work that requires a lot of concentration. I understand the important of taking regular breaks to get away from the screen but don't take the mickey with this. I can't eat first thing in the morning so I have always eaten mid-morning, at my desk, sometimes something cold, sometimes something that needs a minute or two in the staff microwave.

Past employers have never had an issue with this.

I'm fairly new to this job but in the past two months that others have observed me doing this, including my line manager, no-one has ever raised it as an issue. We have access to a microwave and toaster so sometimes I'll bring in a tub of beans, or eggs that I've already put in a bowl and whisked at home so it takes 2 minutes in the microwave to heat them, sometimes I'll do some toast at the same time. All during the space of time it takes me to make my first cup of tea of the day - which is taken after having already put in 1-2 hours work since I got in that morning.

All of a sudden my line manager took me aside and said "it had been noticed" that I was heating up my breakfast and that I was no longer to do this as it was in work time, that the microwave and toaster were only for lunch breaks, unless I decided to split my break over both. This seems ridiculous to me as it takes max 5 minutes and I then bring it back to eat at my desk whilst working. I have seen colleagues gone for much much longer than this if they get into social conversation with colleagues.

Also, this instruction was directed only to me, not as a general "heads up" to the team or department as a whole, so it very personal.

In my mind, from an occupational health point of view, it is very important to take regular breaks throughout the day from VDU work, to make tea, go to the loo, chat with a colleague etc, so why is heating up food whilst making my tea any different.

Am I being unreasonable here? Do others do this at work with no issue? As I said, past employers have never had issue with it and I don't take the piss with it. Thank you.

OP's posts:
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Am I being unreasonable?

AIBU

You have one vote. All votes are anonymous.

TheYearOfSmallThings · 09/11/2021 17:02

Eggs don't really smell of anything

?!!

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LubaLuca · 09/11/2021 17:02

This wouldn't be tolerated in any of the places I've worked. If you want to prepare and eat hot food, you take a proper break away from your desk.

Have a cereal bar if you can't have a midmorning break.

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LubaLuca · 09/11/2021 17:03

Eggs don't really smell of anything

Confused

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BarbaraofSeville · 09/11/2021 17:04

Pastries? Toast? Cereal bars?

Where's Team Protein when you need them?

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Haffdonga · 09/11/2021 17:05

Beans on toast at your desk! Shock

Nah, YABU.

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Chippymunks · 09/11/2021 17:06

BarbaraofSeville team protein is stinking the place out.

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ArseInTheCoOpWindow · 09/11/2021 17:07

Maybe rustle up a roast dinner with all the trimmings at the same time.

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JudgeRindersMinder · 09/11/2021 17:07

Please don’t try to bring Vdu regs into this. A “break” from screens generally means doing some other task that just isn’t looking at a screen, that could even just be answering the phone.
With a 9am start you are taking the utter piss….desk breakfasts will have gone under the radar for long enough but you’re the one who’s spoilt it for others by making yourself a cooked breakfast to eat at your desk.
Get out of your bed half an hour earlier and train yourself to have breakfast before you leave home

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LittleMysSister · 09/11/2021 17:07

Hate stuff like this, it's so petty, when as you've said, quite often colleagues will spend way longer than that just chatting.

However, I do agree with others that it might be the smell. It's a bit different heating a bowl of porridge vs doing yourself egg/beans on toast.

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RantyAunty · 09/11/2021 17:07

Like PPs have mentioned, it is the eggs and beans.
They really do stink up a place fast.
I reckon you'd need to brush your teeth afterward too.

I'd have breakfast like that at home and bring some fruit or something like that.

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pastabest · 09/11/2021 17:07

You can't microwave eggs in an office. Don't be that person.

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Imabitbusyatthemoment · 09/11/2021 17:07

Cereal, yoghurt, and possibly porridge at desk all fine. Beans on toast and eggs, not fine. Too smelly, too messy and I would be very surprised if this hasn’t come from your colleagues.
I worked with a noisy, finger licking, 5-bag-a-day crisp eater once. Ended up leading to a full food-at-desk ban as so many people complained and they couldn’t find a better way of resolving it. For your colleagues sake, accept it.

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babasaclover · 09/11/2021 17:08

Eggs and beans heat up in a communal office is absolutely rank that's why you're not allowed it's the smell the revoltingness of it. The cold breakfast at your desk no one will care about that

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Starcaller · 09/11/2021 17:08

I can get how egg doesn't smell nice, but what's 'vile' about a reheated chilli? I've never smelled one that was disgusting in any way!

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wewereliars · 09/11/2021 17:09

If I had to watch some one eat and smell the beans and eggs at my desk mid morning, it would make me gag. Eat a sandwich FGS

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Wnikat · 09/11/2021 17:09

It’ll be the smell

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Dixiechickonhols · 09/11/2021 17:09

Smell. Fact you need knife and fork to eat so can’t be working.
Last office had a no hot food rule at desk (smelly) - only snacks could be eaten at desk. So sandwich - lunch room, yoghurt ok at desk.
If you want protein for breakfast cold egg muffins, baked Oat bars or skyr or 0% Greek and berries are good options.

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JudgeRindersMinder · 09/11/2021 17:09

Sorry posted too early. It’s right that the issue was directed right at you because your behaviour is the issue, no one else’s. I actually applaud your employer for their approach rather than what so many do and hiding behind a sweeping email to everyone when only 1 person is the issue

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girlmom21 · 09/11/2021 17:10

@Starcaller

I can get how egg doesn't smell nice, but what's 'vile' about a reheated chilli? I've never smelled one that was disgusting in any way!

It's not when it's immediately reheated that's the problem. It's when it's lingering for half an hour and it no longer smells like chilli and smells like fart instead Envy
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Bellyups · 09/11/2021 17:10

YABU.
Smell, eating noises, cutlery noises, less work completed. Someone’s complained. Rightly so.

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Forgothowmuchlhatehomeschoolin · 09/11/2021 17:10

I kind of think you being a bit unreasonable op cos l guess really they would expect you to arrive having had brekkie and hot food smells - plus if they let you they have to pet everyone. But as pp have said do the smokers get told their smoke breaks have to come out of their lunch hour? That used to be a real bugbear of mine - esp once when l got told off for making one personal call one day once in about 5 years when all the smokers were out nearly every hour!

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mineofuselessinformation · 09/11/2021 17:10

I suspect your colleagues are fed up with the smell and that you are still taking a full lunch break. I can see their point.

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Therealjudgejudy · 09/11/2021 17:11

You eat eggs, beans and toast...at your desk...every mid morning??

Yuck...

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supersop60 · 09/11/2021 17:12

I can't get past the statement that the toaster and the microwave are for lunchtimes only.
What micro managing bollocks!
My cup of tea frequently gets cold, so I use the microwave to heat it up.
OP can you find out what the actual problem is? It sounds a bit vague.

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ArblemarchTFruitbat · 09/11/2021 17:13

We have access to a microwave and toaster so sometimes I'll bring in a tub of beans, or eggs that I've already put in a bowl and whisked at home so it takes 2 minutes in the microwave to heat them, sometimes I'll do some toast at the same time.

Suppose the whole office wanted to do this? It wouldn't work, there'd be endless queues at the appliances.

Eggs done in the microwave absolutely honk - someone used to do this at lunchtime where I work and it ponged the whole of the enormous office out.

I think the answer is to have a cold breakfast. Your baked beans wouldn't smell if you ate them cold, you could bring in some pre-toasted bread or you could have cereal/a cereal bar. Or you could have a German-stye breakfast of cold meat and cheese. Or a croissant - there are loads of options.

That would be no different from having a mid-morning snack at your desk which I assume is allowed.

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