What should I do if my boss asks me to work off the clock?
Off-the-clock work is illegal in California and can be a form of wage theft. If your employer has asked you to work off the clock without pay, you should contact an experienced employment lawyer. The lawyer can advise you of your rights and legal options. You may be able to pursue compensation for the unpaid wages.
Workers should be paid for all time spent performing work duties, no matter how short. This includes any tasks completed before, during, and after a shift. Common examples of compensable off-the-clock work include bag checks before a shift begins, cleaning a jobsite after clocking out, answering emails after a shift ends, or working during a lunch break.
It is never legal for an employer to refuse to pay employees for off-the-clock work, even when the employer did not authorize the extra hours (although working without authorization could be subject to valid discipline). Under California law, the worker must be paid for any time spent on work when the employer knew or should have known about the extra hours.
Sometimes employers explicitly require employees to work off the clock, such as forcing them to arrive before a shift starts but not clock in until later. In other cases, businesses may try to get away with making their workers do seemingly small tasks without pay. They may be encouraging off-the-clock work to avoid paying overtime. Misclassifying workers as independent contractors to get around California’s laws on off-the-clock work is also illegal.
Some employers use more subtle tactics, such as assigning workers more tasks than they could possibly complete during the standard workday. Employees then have no choice but to work off the clock to finish their excessive workloads.
McCormack Law Firm is dedicated to helping workers recover all the wages they are owed. If your employer has failed to pay you in full for the hours you have worked, contact us today to speak to a San Francisco employment lawyer.
Other Unpaid Wage, Overtime and Commission FAQs:
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