Off the Clock

Your employer is required to keep accurate records of the hours you work, including your straight time, minimum wage and overtime. But sometimes you are told not to punch in when you arrive, or you are required to work after you punch out. You are told not to work overtime, but that you have to get all your work done, and your employer does not mind if you stay after your regular work day to complete the work he says you “have” to do - without pay. Your employer cannot force you to work or even “permit” you to work for hours that are not logged and compensated, and cannot cheat you of wages and overtime in this manner.

Some examples of off the clock work: 

  • You work late at the office, or you get in early, to get done all the work they give you, but you don’t note those hours on your timesheet.
  • You work at home in the evenings or on the weekend, with the knowledge of your employer,  and you are not compensated for the time.
  • You are responding to work emails and text messages before and after the hours that you are at your workplace.
  • You are told not to sign in or punch the time clock when you actually are working. 
  • Your employer changes timesheets, timecards or computer entries for the time that you worked to reduce your pay.
  • You are not paid during your lunch break, even though you are on call to perform work and do perform work at your desk. Your lunch break must be time to yourself; otherwise it needs to be compensated.
  • You are treated as if you are salaried exempt employee, whereas your employer is not entitled to call you exempt, and has misclassified you. If you work more than 40 hours per week, you would be entitled to overtime in this situation. 
  • Your employer rounds time down but does not round it up, and rounding thus results in reductions in your pay but not increases.
  • You are not paid for preparatory activities before the store opens to customers or for closing and clean-up activities after the shop doors are closed. 
  • You arrive at your work location and are not paid for so-called pre-shift activities such as reviewing work you will be assigned to do that day. 
  • You arrive at work to load tools or receive instructions, then travel to a work site, but are not paid for this. 
  • When you finish work at the location, you are not paid for travel back with your tools to the first location. 
  • You need protective gear for the work you perform, and are not paid for preparing your gear prior to your shift or cleaning it after your shift. 

Employees who do are forced or “encouraged” to work off the clock are often shortchanged when their employer does not pay them overtime. Federal Law and New York State law do not permit overtime wages violations just because your employer is letting you work off the clock and not paying you for the extra work. Over the years, you can lose a lot of money when your employer puts into his pockets the overtime wages that he should have paid you. Nor can your employer subject you to retaliation in New York State or New York City because you complain that you are not really a manager and should be paid overtime wages.

Contact us online or call us at (212) 949-1001 if you think that your employer's harmful actions stem from your being forced or “encouraged” to work off the clock, with the result that you are not being paid the overtime to which you are entitled by law.We will use our more than 25 years of experience to help you resolve the matter by negotiation or by going to court in the State of New York or New York City.

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