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FLSA Off The Clock Violations
Federal and state laws are in place to protect both businesses and employees. However, not all workplace laws apply to every business and employee; and, what’s more, state laws vary. Generally speaking, though, if an employer asks or allows an employee to work off the clock, they are violating labor laws. This is because the Fair Labor Standards Act (or FLSA), which applies to the majority of workers in the U.S., requires employers to pay employees overtime for any hours worked over 40 hours per week if they are classified as “nonexempt.”
Therefore, nonexempt employees can’t be asked to work off the clock. Working “off the clock” is any work done for an employer which is neither compensated nor counted toward a worker’s weekly hours for overtime purposes.
Common Instances of Working Off The Clock
- Unpaid preparation or “pre-work” duties including warming up a vehicle, loading or unloading, transferring equipment, setting up or preparing a worksite, among others.
- Unpaid post-shift work like clean up or helping customers
- Unpaid administrative work
- Wait time for jobs to begin, waiting for assignments or tasks
- Taking home work to work on it after hours or reworking a project
- Returning work-related phone calls after work hours are over
- Clocking out but continuing to read work emails and/or review documents
- Completing training during non-work hours
- Traveling from one workplace to another during the same workday
Since off the clock work is often illegal, employees may be able to recover back wages for unpaid hours or unpaid overtime. Because the rules governing workers are clearly stated by the FLSA, many employees are awarded these damages. Employees may also be able to recover attorney’s fees if they win their claim for back pay.
Even if an employer or employee has good intentions, neither can choose to ignore the protections established in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). If a violation of the FLSA occurs, the law enables employees to get wages and overtime pay owed to them as far back as three years. It is an employer’s responsibility to control off-the-clock work, and they must enforce the rules they set. If you or someone you know is owed back pay, assert your right to be paid for all of the time you worked because you earned it. Contact Whitfield Bryson LLP today to find out how we can help.
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