Of all the laws and rights that govern employment in the United States, the most basic and fundamental right is quite simple: employers cannot make their employees work without paying them for their work. Since the passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) in the 1930s, it has been illegal for employers to allow their employees to work without pay.
Despite this clear protection for workers, employers frequently try to cut costs at the expense of their employees by not paying them for all of the time they spend working. “Off the clock” work can take many forms, some of which aren’t always obvious. For instance, in manufacturing facilities, employers often require workers to put on protective equipment before their pay begins and to take off that equipment after their pay ends. In call centers, employers often require employees to boot up their computers, to log into programs, and to check their emails before their pay begins. And in the restaurant industry, employers often require their servers to work for just $2.13 plus tips, but fail to make sure that the daily tips bring the servers’ pay up to the $7.25 per hour minimum wage. These are just several ways that employers try to save money by illegally failing to pay their employees an honest day’s wage for an honest day’s work.
If your employer requires you to work without pay for any portion of your day, you may be entitled to unpaid wages, including overtime pay.
We have successfully represented tens of thousands of workers all across the country in overtime cases, including many workers who have been forced to work off the clock for at least part of the day. We work on a contingency, meaning we only get paid if we get a recovery for our clients. To learn more about our Overtime & Wage practice, click here.