Armstrong & Associates Employment Law Firm

Can employers require that staff members work off the clock?

People in many professions feel like they have more responsibilities than time to do their jobs. For example, someone working in retail may have a list of merchandising or cleaning tasks that they have to accomplish in addition to ringing customers up at a cash register or providing direct support on the sales floor. It is also widely known that those who work in factories and restaurants often have numerous secondary tasks to accomplish in addition to their primary job responsibilities.

Sometimes, employers try to trick or manipulate their workers into doing employment-related tasks without providing appropriate compensation. It isn’t usually appropriate or lawful for a company to demand that workers perform certain functions off the clock.

Hourly workers should always get paid for their work

There are hourly workers who receive overtime pay based on when they are at work, and then there are exempt workers, including independent contractors and high-earnings salaried workers, who typically don’t receive overtime compensation or extra wages based on how long they work.

Those who are not exempt or paid on an hourly basis should receive accurate compensation based on when they are at work and performing responsible performing tasks for their employer. Occasionally, there can be unusual situations that may require that a worker do one simple task despite already clocking out for the night.

Infrequent and irregular job responsibilities off the clock may not be a wage violation. However, demanding that workers routinely perform tasks while not clocked in and therefore not compensated for their efforts is a common form of wage theft. Many businesses wrongfully insist that workers do paperwork, cleaning or other job functions before or after a shift without compensation.

Fighting wage theft benefits all workers

If an employee recognizes that the company that hired them has violated their rights, they can potentially pursue a wage claim. Such claims may lead to compensation for the previously unpaid wages and, more importantly, changes to company practices.

The more workers that refuse to do uncompensated labor, the harder it will be for companies to habitually violate wage loss. Recognizing when a wage and hour violation may have occurred can help individuals to feel justifiably empowered when asserting their rights in the workplace.


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