Off the Clock and Unpaid Overtime Violations

Some employers routinely pressure employees to work "off the clock", and thus are able to avoid paying employees for all the hours they have worked. This is against the law. Employers must pay for all work they know about, or should know about, performed by an employee.

Typical violations include:
    off the clock unpaid overtime
  • allowing or requiring work to be done before the start of a shift
  • allowing or requiring work such as clean up, paperwork or work that "should have" been completed during the shift, after the shift
  • deducting meal breaks that employees did not take
  • pressuring employees to work on their own time
  • putting employees on a "salary" to avoid paying them overtime pay
Employees have rights regarding "off the clock" work:
  • employers must stop an employee from working if they do not want to pay for it
  • employers are still responsible, even if employees:
    • acted voluntarily
    • tried to hide the work from management
    • agreed not to seek compensation
    • settled their claim out of court

  • employees can often recover double back pay
  • employers must pay for the employees' lawyer, plus damages, if they loose their case
  • employees can go back up to three years to bring suit for unpaid time worked/ul>

Articles about Unpaid Overtime and 'Off the Clock' work

Two Big Settlements In California Overtime Lawsuits
Although overtime lawsuits filed by California police officers have received a lot of attention lately, they are not the only people who have not been properly paid for working overtime hours. Some recently settled lawsuits against a grocery chain and a restaurant company show that many people are at risk for not being properly compensated for working overtime.

Working 9 to 5 and Then Some
Working Off the Clock simply means not getting paid for the time worked. And this is illegal.

Off the Clock and Unpaid Overtime in the News

NOV-17-06: A lawsuit seeking class action status has been filed in Fargo, claiming Wal-Mart hourly employees were subject to wage abuse. [INFORUM: OFF-THE-CLOCK WAGE ABUSE]

OCT-13-06: Walmart to pay $78 million for forcing employees to work through breaks and off the clock. [BLOGGING STOCKS: OFF THE CLOCK]

OCT-03-06: Lawsuit against McDonalds, claiming workers forced to work off the clock and through rest and meal breaks, now includes seven stores. [BAY CITY NEWS WIRE: OFF THE CLOCK UNPAID OVERTIME]

OCT-02-06: Ryan's Family Steakhouse to pay $13.5 million for off the clock work and unpaid overtime. [ASBURY PARK PRESS: OFF THE CLOCK]

Your Off the Clock or Unpaid Overtime Complaint

If your employer has pressured you to work "off the clock" in order to avoid paying you overtime wages, please send your complaint to a lawyer who will review your claim for free. It's your right to receive payment for all the hours you work.
Last updated January 23 2008

Reader Comments

Posted by

On a previous project, I made a technical mistake and was asked about the problem. I then admitted the mistake, then was instructed to clock out and fix the issue. This is not an isolated incident, nor has this been isolated to myself. The employees of this business are constantly threatened and are harassed daily. We have also been required to attend meetings without pay, and instructed that if we do not attend, we will be reprimanded. We have also been sent home on many occasions over petty disagreements, and told that the reasons were because of lack of work. We all have also been forced to work through our breaks and meal times. Many times our paychecks don't add up as well, though overtime was not added.

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