How can I recover compensation for off-the-clock work?

State and federal laws protect California workers against employers who expect or require their employees to perform work-related duties without compensation.

Working “off the clock” is a common wage and hour violation for any uncompensated work done for an employer that should count for overtime purposes.

Typical off-the-clock violations

California labor laws as well as the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) protect most employees. Some workers are exempt from these requirements, but most are nonexempt employees protected by minimum wage, overtime and other labor laws. Examples of off-the-clock violations include:

  • Employees not paid for prep work, such as setting up tables in a restaurant, loading delivery vehicles, transferring equipment or setting up a worksite
  • Unpaid tasks or chores after a shift, such as cleaning up or finishing projects that should have been completed during scheduled work hours
  • Finishing paperwork, meeting with a manager or undergoing training before or after a shift
  • Being asked to redo or correct reports or other work without pay
  • Waiting for a new assignment when no additional work is readily available
  • Being required to remain “on-call” at a job site over the weekend

Often, workers are asked to “stay late” to finish a project but directed not to report it because the manager wants to avoid overtime.

Recovering back wages and OT

Employers must pay nonexempt California workers for performing all required and unrequired work duties. This includes work done on and off the job site. An experienced attorney who understands state and federal labor laws, penalties and remedies can help you take action.

Your lawyer can help file a claim with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement as well as determine whether a civil lawsuit is necessary to receive compensation. You will need to prove that you performed work for which you were not paid, that the employer knew and did not prevent you from performing those duties or take steps to make sure you were compensated.

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