Non-exempt employees must be paid for all hours worked for the benefit of the employer. Our experienced employment attorneys hold employers accountable for off the clock violations and help employees recover lost wages. Hours worked include cleaning time, waiting time, training time, call time or any other time the employee must be either on the premises of the employer or performing duties in connection with the worker’s employment. Employers are liable to employees for unpaid wages.
What are examples of off the clock work?
Employers and employees may not agree to work “off the clock.” When non-exempt employees work over 40 hours a week for a covered employer, they must be paid overtime. This applies to work performed away from the job site, including work performed at home. Failure to pay an employee for the entire amount of compensation owed is also referred to a “wage theft.” Wage theft may include a failure to pay an employee for off the clock work, unpaid overtime, unlawful wage deductions, or other forms of wage and hour violations.
To be compensable, an employer must be aware that off the clock work is being performed by the employee. Examples of off the clock work include:
- Starting work before clocking in;
- Clocking out, but continuing to work;
- Working during meal periods;
- Off-the-clock overtime;
- Working at home; and/or
- Checking/responding to email.
With the increase of automatic time keeping systems, remote work practices and the use of smart phones and tablets to perform work communications, off the clock work is often unpaid. Time spent outside of working hours on portable electronic devices is often compensable time. Based on the Fair Labor Standards Act, PDA and smartphone use for work purposes, such as checking emails, is likely compensable.
In recent years, employees have successfully brought class action lawsuits where employers failed to compensate them for off the clock work. For example, a class of police officers alleged their police department issued electronic devices and required them to respond to work-related emails, text messages, and voicemails around the clock while off duty. More traditionally, employees have used class actions as a vehicle to compensate them for unpaid time spent working before and after their scheduled shifts – often referred to as “donning and doffing.” Our class action employment lawyers are seasoned litigators of off the clock violations and wage and hour claims.
Can my employer fire me for reporting off the clock violations?
Under Minnesota law, employers are prohibited from terminating or retaliating against an employee for seeking unpaid wages or asserting their rights under wage and hour laws. The employee is protected from any form of adverse action for exercising their rights, whether making a report to the employer, filing a complaint with the Minnesota Department of Labor or notifying the employer of their intent to file a complaint.
Contact Our Minnesota Employment Lawyers
If you believe your employer has committed off the clock violations or wage theft, or failed to pay you for all hours worked, we want to hear from you. The employment lawyers at Baillon Thome Jozwiak & Wanta LLP are dedicated to protecting the wage and hour rights of Minnesota employees and provide a free initial consultation. Contact us to discuss your rights.