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Are you working off the clock?

Whether you punch a clock, log in on a computer or complete a time sheet, your time is valuable. You know that an extra minute can mean the difference between gaining or losing a quarter-hour of pay. You may also know that logging more than 40 hours a week means you will receive extra pay for overtime.

What you may not realize is that your employer may be finding ways of saving money by requiring you to do work off the clock. Depending on circumstances, the you may be eligible for overtime pay. If your employer requires you to work off the clock, you may be eligible for additional back wages as well as future overtime pay.

Is your boss stealing from you?

Many workers classified on "non-exempt" have been in situations where they clock out only to notice a co-worker struggling to complete a task. You may have been tempted to jump in and help a friend or to do a little more on your own to show your value to your boss. However, these actions are not lawful under the Fair Labor Standards Act, and if your employer knew of your actions but did not compensate you, your employer broke the law.

More often, however, it is not workers who volunteer to do extra tasks off the clock; rather, some employers require their employees to work without pay. Some common examples include these:

  • Any makeup work, corrections or repairs on a project you must do on your own time.
  • Your employer makes you clock out to complete your paperwork, such as reviewing patient charts or writing reports.
  • You do not receive compensation for attending trainings or meetings outside your normal work hours.
  • Your boss makes you set up your work area - such as loading a truck or setting tables in a restaurant - before you clock in for your shift.
  • Your employer does not compensate you for doing post-shift work that includes cleaning the work site or other tasks.
  • You do not receive compensation for the time you are at work waiting for an assignment.

Whether your boss requires you to work off the clock or fails to stop you from working without pay, if you are non-exempt in the eyes of the law, these actions are in violation of the FLSA. An employer who knowingly commits wage theft in this way may be subject to fines, and you may be eligible for back pay as well as damages. Seeking these damages requires skill and knowledge of federal and California employment laws. An experienced employment law attorney can review your situation, and if necessary, take action on your behalf.

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Carlin & Buchsbaum, LLP

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Long Beach, CA 90802

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