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Asking employees to work "off the clock" is illegal wage theft

By law, workers are entitled to time-and-a-half overtime pay for working more than 40 hours in a week. But many employers don't want to pay overtime wages, and will do everything they can to avoid it, even if their methods are illegal.

One common way some employers avoid paying overtime wages is by forcing employees to work “off the clock,” which includes asking employees to stay to finish tasks after they've clocked out, work during lunch and breaks, and attending staff meetings before they clock in for their shift.

In fact, nearly 10,000 Chipotle employers recently filed a class action lawsuit alleging that managers consistently ordered employees to clock out at the end of their shift, but then would ask them to stay and clean up, prepare for another shift or work until another staff member showed up to replace them. According to the lawsuit, the company didn't pay the workers for the extra time, which added up to hundreds and even thousands of hours for some workers.

Employers sometimes try to pressure workers into working off the clock by claiming that everyone on the team needs to “pitch in,” or hinting that employees who quietly put in extra time might be more likely to get a promotion. Managers may also make it clear that any workers who refuse to do work off the clock aren't “team players,” and might be fired.

Chipotle is hardly the only company that has tried to force employees to work off the clock for no pay. Companies such as McDonald's, Jimmy Johns, Wal-Mart, and many others have faced similar lawsuits from employees who claimed they were forced to work off the clock. Employees who work in the food service, hospitality and retail industries are particularly vulnerable to illegal “off the clock” work practices.

Any employee who suspects that an employer has illegally avoided paying earned overtime wages should contact the helpful attorneys at Robert Peirce & Associates either by calling (844) 383-0565 or contacting us online. We are happy to give you a free consultation to make sure you receive the full wages that you earned.

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