Many employers require or knowingly permit their employees to engage in off-the-clock work that benefits the company, but unlawfully fail to count that time on the employee’s paycheck. The law requires that hourly employees be paid for all time actually worked — regardless of when the shift was scheduled to start or end. You have a right to be paid for every minute that you spend working for the benefit of your employer.
The most common form of off-the-clock work involves employees being told to punch out and continue working or to punch in late. Sometimes, employers will go back and “shave” hours off employee punch cards or electronic time sheets. But you are also entitled to be paid for work that your employer might consider “off-the-clock,” such as:
- working through unpaid lunch breaks
- putting on required uniforms and safety equipment at work
- cleaning, maintaining, or inspecting equipment
- loading vehicles before heading to the jobsite
- picking up or dropping off supplies at the shop
- booting up computer systems
- performing tasks at home
- checking e-mail and receiving telephone calls while not at the office
- traveling between jobs or worksites
- workplace cleanup
- time spent between calls as a telemarketer or salesperson
Because this “off-the-clock” work is often a necessary part of the job, employers are usually required to pay employees for performing it.
Many construction, factory, and service industry workers spend a significant amount of time (such as ten minutes or more) before and after their shift putting on or taking off required uniforms and equipment, driving between job sites, picking up and dropping off materials, and inspecting, cleaning, and maintaining their equipment. Many of these activities count as part of your job, and you may have the right to receive compensation for doing them.
Our law firm has an excellent track record litigating state and federal class action lawsuits for off-the-clock work, telecommuting violations, and other unpaid wages. If you believe that your employer is taking advantage of you, call one of our experienced attorneys for a free and confidential consultation. Our office hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with weekend and late-evening appointments available by pre-arrangement. Spanish, Polish, and Russian language services are available.