Employers that require employees to perform job-related tasks without pay before or after their shifts or during breaks, they’re violating federal and state labor laws.
When you’re on the clock, your employer reasonably expects you to carry out your work and should pay you accordingly for all hours worked. Once you’re off the clock, however, your time is valuable and you should be paid for any additional tasks your employer forces you to do.
Even workers who are properly classified as nonexempt workers can be victims of wage abuse when employers willfully or negligently undercount their hours. For instance, an employer may:
- Force employees to respond to email and voicemail messages or initiate lengthy computer boot-up procedures before starting their shifts
- Compel employees to record daily notes or log-out of networks, systems, and applications before ending their shifts
- Demand that employees work through unpaid meal or rest breaks
- Expect, allow, or require employees to launder uniforms, tend to work equipment, or do extra work at home
- Ignore time employees spend putting on (“donning”) or taking off (“doffing”) protective gear, clothing, and equipment at work
- Not include required travel time (i.e., to a worksite, customer office, or meeting location) in employees’ weekly hours
- Not recognize mandatory training as compensable time
These and other examples of “off the clock” work result in countless hours – including overtime – for which hard-working employees in a broad range of industries are not paid.