Compensation for off the Clock Work in NYC
It’s not uncommon for employees to put in extra work time while not formally logged in. It’s also not uncommon for employers to fail—either deliberately or accidentally—to properly track the hours their employees work. But just because is something is not uncommon doesn’t mean it’s legal or just. Employees deserve to be paid for their work and the law gives them a path to get compensation for off the clock work in NYC.
Brown Kwon & Lam is built on the principle that employees deserve an employment lawyer that is accessible to them, professional in their approach, and diligent in performing their legal footwork. That’s what we offer. From our New York City office, we serve people in Long Island, Westchester, New York, and New Jersey.
An employee has to be compensated from the time they perform their first work-related activity to the point at which they do their final job-related action of the day. There is no circumstance under which an employer can decline to pay an employee for this time.
Now, there are many cases where employees are salaried and the combination of their pay and duties marks them as “exempt” from the overtime wage laws laid out in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). An exempt employee—a division manager for example—is never truly “off the clock” in the legal sense of the term. But an hourly employee who is not exempt from FLSA overtime pay rules? That employee cannot be forced—or even asked—to work off the clock, and when their hours exceed 40 per week, they must get overtime pay.
Examples of off the Clock Work
An employee shows up to their job at the loading dock, sees their colleagues already at work, and jumps right in to help. They neglect to log in. That has to be rectified or the work is considered off the clock. The same applies if the employee punches out, then sees busy colleagues and steps in to help.
The role administrative workers perform can lead to off the clock work. One example might be the office manager who gets texts, emails, and phone calls before and after the prescribed work hours. If these are non-exempt employees doing this work, then their hours must be counted, and they have to be paid appropriately.
A truck driver who is paid by the hour might be stuck between loads, waiting for their next assignment. Even though they’re able to rest, they are still on the job, subject to a phone call from their dispatcher. The truck driver has to be paid, lest the employer run afoul of off the clock work regulations.
How Employees Can Protect Themselves
Management often takes prudent steps to protect themselves, by clearly articulating policies regarding overtime work. The employees need to be no less diligent in tracking their own time and making sure they are paid for all the work they do.
To win a legal claim over off the clock work, the employee will need to show evidence that they worked the hours in question, that the employer knew or should have known about it, and that they were never compensated. An employment lawyer from our office can help in the task of putting this evidence together and filing the claim.
Getting compensation for off the clock work is integral to social justice and basic fairness, along with its bread-and-butter importance in the lives of employees. Brown Kwon & Lam is available and accessible to those who need help documenting their claims.