Compensation For Off-The-Clock Or Off-Shift Work

Do you ever find yourself performing work “off the clock” simply because your employer tells you that you must?  You are not alone.  Off the clock work is very common.  Employers often require managers to perform scheduling and “shift change” activities such as register counts off the clock following the conclusion of a shift.  The employer’s view is that it’s just a few minutes, so there’s no need to pay you.  Here’s the catch – 10 minutes a day for a year adds up.

Erbe Law Firm is currently prosecuting a potential class action against Git N’ Go Convenience Stores, Inc. on behalf of a group of assistant managers who were required to perform off-shift work, such as bank runs, end-of-shift closing reports, and responding to alarm calls, without compensation.  We believe that such work is compensable and that Git N’ Go’s assistant managers are entitled to regular wages for their hours up to forty per week and premium overtime wages (time and a half) for every hour worked over forty.

The Fair Labor Standards Act sets limitations on “preliminary or postliminary activities” which are compensable under the FLSA.  The Supreme Court has addressed this issue many times, most recently in 2005 in IBP v. Alvarez and Tum v. Barber Foods.  In these cases, the Court addressed the question of whether or not “donning and doffing” equipment prior to and after the “principal activity” of an employee’s work is compensable time.  The Court held that donning and doffing gear that is “integral and indispensable” to employees’ work is a “principal activity” under the FLSA, and that the time spent walking to and from the worksite after donning and before doffing, as well as the time spent waiting to doff, are compensable under the FLSA.

More often than not, employees who are required to wear heavy protective gear – HAZMAT employees and production line employees, for instance – are required to punch in after suiting up and getting to work.  You may also be entitled to overtime for mandatory off-the-clock or off-shift work.

Overtime cases involving off-the-clock work require analysis of federal statutes, U.S. Department of Labor regulations, and court decisions.  I can help you with any employment law or labor law questions that you might have.  Please feel free to contact me for a free initial consultation about employment law or labor law.


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