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Is Work Off The Clock Illegal In California?


California employees are among the most privileged workers when it comes to payment of overtime, wages protection or time off from work. Failing to pay workers for work off the clock is among the most common wage violations by employers in California. Every time your employer is making you work off the clock without pay should be compensated for. Most of the employers have this tendency. They have a subtle request or encourage workers to work off the clock to evade paying their overtime. If your employer has violated the law, you have a right to file a claim regarding your work off the clock.

Understanding Work Off The Clock

According to California wage/hour law, working off the clock is any work performed by an employee, but it’s not compensated as overtime beyond the normal working weekly hours. Research shows that many workers use their cell phones to send or receive emails outside of their working hours. If this is not paid, it amounts to illegal off the clock work. California law employees must be paid for work off the clock hours. If you’re a group of workers, you can find class action attorneys in California. In some cases, employees are not even aware of this. For instance, your employer may persuade you to start off your work early at home; this may include receiving and answering emails and other tasks without pay. If your employer fails to pay wages due to such cases, then there must be consequences. Hours worked include the time an employee is on duty. Usually, it does matter whether an employer didn’t require you to work, as long as he/she provided that opportunity, hours worked should be paid. Common examples of off the clock work include:

  • Unpaid administrative work
  • Dropping paperwork
  • Finishing up work that should have been completed during regular working hours
  • Unpaid preparation such as preparing up a worksite or a meal
  • Time wasted waiting up for assignments or tasks
  • Working during your meal or rest break

According to Department of Industrial Relations, every eligible employee who works more than the stipulated 40 hours per week should be paid for the extra hours worked. However, not every job is entitled to overtime. You may need to consult an employment law attorney to guide you if you think of having a claim. Your employer may be subjected to pay even up to three years back of any unpaid hours. Besides, you may be able to claim back your attorney’s fees if the claim is won.

How To File A Work Off The Clock Claim

If your employer has failed to pay for what you did off the clock, you need to work towards filling a claim. To sue your employer, you need to prove that:

  • You engaged in work for which you never received any compensation
  • Your employer knew that you were working off the clock: You must have concrete evidence that your employer knew about your working off the clock. Failure to prove this will lead your case dismissed. You may overcome this by creating a timeline of events such as when your work hour changes.
  • Your employer never stopped you from working off the clock

If you’re a group of employees who have been affected by the same allegations, you may get a class representative who will work out your settlement deal. Your class representative will look for a class action attorney who will represent all the plaintiffs. He/she can determine the amount for wages owed as a penalty. But this amount cannot be determined without knowing the number of hours you worked. By filing a wage and hour class action lawsuit, you will have protected yourself from exploitation or other dangers from your employers. However this can only be possible if you take the right action passed by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). To file a claim, you need to complete the proper forms detailing your work schedule and the work off the clock you’re claiming for. You need to seek help to evaluate the precise figure your employer owes to you and also understand how the California wage and hour laws may apply to your case. Your lawyer will advise you whether to file a class-action lawsuit if you have been harmed as a group or file your own claim. Whether you plan to file a class-action lawsuit to a single lawsuit, you should act quickly. This will ensure you’re safe to pursue your claim within the statute of limitations.

Seeking Help From An Experienced Employment Lawyer

To excel in any course of action for recovery of unpaid off the clock hours, you need to provide the right evidence. This may be impossible without an employment lawyer. Determining your compensable hours might involve a detailed assessment of your work. This is when your employment lawyer steps in. He/she can come up with the right evidence such as after-hours records for phone calls, get witnesses from colleagues, among other sources.

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