One of the most pernicious violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and related state wage and hour laws, is unpaid work that is done “off of clock.” In off-the-clock cases, there is no question as to whether an employee is entitled to overtime. Rather, an employer fails to pay its employees for all hours worked in a workday.
Unless a worker falls under one of the limited exemptions to the FLSA’s overtime provisions, and is therefore properly paid as salary, the FLSA and related state laws require that an employer pay its workers for all work that is “suffered or permitted.” This means that time spent doing work not requested by an employer, but still allowed, is generally considered hours worked, since the employer knows or has reason to believe that an employee is continuing to work and the employer is benefiting from the work being done.
Examples of off-the-clock work include an employee voluntarily continuing to work at the end of regular working hours to finish an assigned task such as preparing reports or waiting on a customer. Other examples of off-the-clock work include an employee’s taking work home to complete in the evening or on weekends to meet a deadline. Additional examples are when a worker must perform work at the beginning of a shift before punching in, or work through meal breaks.
Employees need to remember that the FLSA and similar state laws require that they be compensated for all of the work they perform in a workday, regardless of whether it is on or off the clock. Our firm has considerable experience prosecuting FLSA claims on behalf of workers across the country.
If you believe you may have a claim, please contact us.