Security Checks and Off-the-Clock Work
Many companies in California require their employees to spend time on the premises waiting for and undergoing mandated exit searches of their bags, packages, and other personal items. You may have brought an item to work in your bag for your own convenience and simply be taking it home. Even so, your employer may require you to spend time onsite waiting for and going through a mandatory exit search. You should be paid for that time. If you are not, your employer may be engaging in a form of wage theft. If you are concerned about security checks and off-the-clock work, you should talk to the experienced California wage and hour lawyers at The Nourmand Law Firm. We may be able to represent you.Security Checks and Off-the-Clock Work
In California, when you are a non-exempt worker, your employer is not allowed to require you to work off the clock. It is unlawful to mandate that you work off the clock in any way. The time that you work needs to be paid even if your employer did not authorize the additional time. In 2020, the California Supreme Court reviewed a situation in which an employer required employees to go through exit searches of their purses, bags, backpacks, and personal devices after they clocked out to conclude a shift. The employees estimated that they waited 5-20 minutes for exit searches on average, but the wait could be up to 45 minutes. They filed a class action in which they argued that the employer had not paid minimum wage or overtime for the time that they had spent going through the exit search. The Court held that every minute worked by an employee should be paid.
Similarly, if you need to go through a security check to enter your workplace, you should be paid for that time. If your employer knew or should have known about the extra time that you needed to take to go through a security check and did not pay for it, it can be held accountable. It also can be held accountable for any other time that it requires you to work but does not pay for it.Holding Your Employer Accountable for Unpaid Off-the-Clock Work
There are other ways in which unscrupulous or uninformed employers require California employees to work off the clock. Your employer may require you to come early, for instance, but ask you not to clock in until a different time. It may require you to stay late but be the first to clock out. It may use subtler techniques like assigning you more work than can be humanly performed in a regular workday.
In California, employers can be held accountable for any of this improper behavior. If you work off the clock, our attorneys can help you sue to be paid for any hours that your employer refused to count. When your off-the-clock work results in more than eight hours of work per day or 40 hours per week, overtime law demands time-and-a-half or double time pay.
It can be challenging to deal with an employer who knowingly violates wage and hour rules. You may feel intimidated or worry that your employer will retaliate against you for reporting security checks as time worked or for stating your true time worked on your time sheet. It is illegal for your employer to engage in any kind of retaliation or punishment because you asked to be paid your true wages.Consult a Wage and Hour Attorney in California
If your employer knew or should have known that you were working off the clock and let you work those hours, our lawyers can represent you in an action to recover payment for them. Lawsuits for California Labor Code violations have a one-year statute of limitations. If your employer failed to pay you for security checks and off-the-clock work, you should talk to our experienced attorneys as soon as possible. The Nourmand Law Firm represents clients in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties, as well as Oakland and Sacramento, among other areas of California. Complete our online form or call us at 310-553-3600 or 800-700-WAGE (9243).