If you are a nonexempt employee, your employer is required to pay you wages for all of the hours that you work. It is illegal under federal and state laws for your employer to ask you to perform off-the-clock work. Common off-the-clock work can include work performed before a shift, such as time that you spend putting out salt and pepper shakers and condiments before a diner opens, work performed after a shift such as cleaning up a bar, work performed during a required meal or rest break, administrative work such as finalizing a medical chart, or redoing work for an employer. If you have been asked not to report all of your work hours, you may have a claim for unpaid wages. At The Nourmand Law Firm, our Los Angeles wage and hour lawyers may be able to help you.Off-the-Clock Work
Although it is illegal, some employers ask employees not to report all of the hours that they work. It can be difficult to recognize off-the-clock work, but it is basically work that you perform outside a regular shift. For example, if you are a construction worker, and your employer asks you not to report the time that you spend putting on safety gear and calibrating the equipment, this would be considered an illegal request to perform off-the-clock work. Similarly, if you need to stay on call at a job site over the weekend, and your employer asks you not to report those hours, this may be a request for off-the-clock work. Also, if you stay late to finish up a few tasks, and your employer asks you not to report it because he does not want to pay overtime, this would also be off-the-clock work.
Employers are required to pay nonexempt employees wages for all of the hours that they work under both California and federal laws. Under federal law, the hours that you work as a nonexempt employee include any time that you are required to be on duty or at a job site or prescribed workplace and any time during which you are suffered to work, whether or not your employer requires you to do so. Work is not restricted to the hours that you are actively and productively engaged.
California law defines hours worked for a nonexempt employee as any time in which you must be on duty, at the employer’s premises or at a particular worksite, and any time during which your employer is aware or should be aware of your working, whether or not it requires you to do so. Under California law, your employer must pay you at least minimum wage for off-the-clock work, including any unauthorized overtime, even if it did not ask you to do so, if it knew or should have known that you were working those hours.
In some cases, employers set payroll to automatically pay employees their wages for their scheduled work times, even when an employee may be under the employer’s control before or after a scheduled shift. This can result in a failure to pay workers for off-the-clock work. If you perform off-the-clock work for which you are not paid, you have two potential avenues of recourse. First, you can file your claim with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE). Alternatively, you can hire a lawyer to sue in civil court.
In most cases, it is helpful to retain an experienced attorney who understands the penalties, statutory fines, and remedies that may apply to your situation. It can be intimidating to file a lawsuit for damages against your employer, but if your employer takes an adverse employment action against you for filing a claim for unpaid wages, it may be subject to wrongful termination litigation.
In a civil lawsuit for unpaid wages for off-the-clock work, you will need to prove that you did work for your employer, you were not compensated for that work, your employer knew or should have known that you were doing the work, and your employer did not prevent you from performing off-the-clock work or take steps to ensure your compensation.Retain a Knowledgeable Wage and Hour Lawyer in Los Angeles
If you are concerned about not being paid for off-the-clock work, The Nourmand Law Firm may be able to counsel and represent you. We strive to provide knowledgeable and tenacious legal representation to workers who have been mistreated in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Palm Springs, Beverly Hills, Van Nuys, Santa Ana, Newport Beach, and elsewhere in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Orange counties. Call our attorneys at 800-700-WAGE (9243) or contact us through our online form.