Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, hourly workers and non-exempt salaried workers have the right to overtime wages when they work more than 40 hours in a given workweek. The extra pay compensates workers for additional job responsibilities while also helping prevent companies from overworking their staff.
Some companies will go to extreme lengths to avoid overtime pay for their employees, possibly even breaking the law in their attempts to keep their labor costs as low as possible. Overtime violations come in all shapes and sizes, but the three behaviors below are among the most common.
1. Your manager tells you to clock out and come back to work
Some companies have payroll systems that alert managers, individual workers or even corporate offices when an employee is just about to hit 40 hours and then become eligible for overtime wages.
The company may prioritize having such workers go home first to avoid paying those people time-and-a-half. Sending home a worker before they hit 40 hours is a reasonable approach. Telling them to clock out and then get back to work is not.
2. The company always expects certain tasks done without compensation
Maybe you have to come in to the restaurant where you work and chop the vegetables or roll silverware before you start your shift. Perhaps you have to clock out before finishing your cleaning for the day and shutting down the retail establishment where you work. It’s even possible that your employer expects you to answer customer emails and phone calls during the weekend without any pay.
If you are an hourly worker, your employer should pay you for any routine job responsibilities. Trying to get you to do work habitually while not clocked in is a violation of your wage rights.
3. Manipulating payroll records to avoid responsibility
Some companies will refuse to pay a worker after they put in extra hours. They might edit or alter payroll records. A manager or human resources team member might digitally edit or physically alter your time clock report. Maintaining your own records for each time you clock in and out can help.
If you notice these issues or have other concerns about unpaid wages or overtime violations, like frequently changing the date your week starts and ends to manipulating overtime rules, you may need to consider bringing a wage claim against your employer.