When your employer wants to avoid paying you

On behalf of Sullivan Law Group APC on Tuesday, July 17, 2018.

In the state of California, many employers ask janitors and housekeepers working for them to perform work tasks “off the clock.” If you are a janitor or housekeeper in this situation, you may be wondering whether the practice is legal. 

The answer is that it is not. The law requires your employer to pay you for all of the work you perform. 

Employers may try to get out of paying overtime pay

Perhaps your employer asks you to stay at work after you have clocked out from your regular, eight-hour shift, or at the end of your workweek. Under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act and California law, employers must pay overtime to employees when they work more than 40 hours in a seven-day workweek or more than eight hours in one workday. Legally, overtime is one-and-a-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay. Avoiding the larger hourly wage may be your employer’s primary goal in having you work off the clock.

Exercising your rights as an employee

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division enforces the wage and hour laws, so you may be able to file a complaint through that federal agency. The first step is to document the behavior as much as possible and in as much detail as possible. This means keeping track of the hours you worked, both on and off the clock. You should also make note of any details about the work you performed, how your employer pays employees, such as by check or direct deposit, and which days of the week or month are paydays.

Despite the fact that California and federal labor laws protect employees, many employees choose not to make a case against their employers out of fear of retaliation. Retaliation can take many forms, but one common way that employers retaliate is by firing the employee who speaks out. However, it is illegal for your employer to fire you for filing a complaint or a lawsuit.