New York City Off-the-Clock Work Attorney

Many New York City businesses try to cut corners by forcing employees to work off-the-clock without pay. When an employer fails to pay employees for all of their hours worked, they may violate New York wage and hour laws

Lipsky Lowe LLP’s employment attorneys fight for workers’ rights across New York City. Over the years, many employers have demanded that employees do off-the-clock work to avoid paying them. If your employer has required off-the-clock work, you may be entitled to the back pay they owe you, along with additional damages. Contact the NYC employment attorneys at Lipsky Lowe LLP today to schedule your free initial consultation. 

Types of Off-The-Clock Work

Off-the-clock work can include asking employees to spend time traveling between work sites, working extra hours without pay, or working outside of their schedule without pay. Even off-the-clock work of 15 minutes justifies payment for the employee. Common examples include the following:

  • Time spent traveling from one job site to another
  • Work performed after an employee completes his or her shift
  • Attending meetings
  • Requiring an employee to work through a scheduled lunch break without pay
  • Requiring an employee to work at home after hours without pay
  • Requiring employees to answer emails and text messages around the clock without pay
  • Employers changing time cards and not paying employees for all of the hours they clocked in and out of (eg “time shaving”)

Employees Must Be Paid for Preparatory Activities Before Work

clock next to a calendar

Off-the-clock work can also include before or after job-related activities necessary for an employee to accomplish his or her duties. For example, if an employee is required to prepare to start his or her shift 15 minutes before the shift starts, the employee should receive payment for the 15 minutes of preparation. 

Another example of preparatory activities would be to request that a server set tables, prepare silverware, or restock inventory in a kitchen. Preparatory activities must be paid for, such as time spent loading or checking work vehicles or reviewing work assignments. 

Is Off-the-Clock Work Legal?

In most cases, off-the-clock work is illegal in New York. Both federal and state laws protect employees’ rights to be compensated for all hours worked. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets the minimum wage and overtime pay requirements for most non-exempt employees. New York State also has its own minimum wage and overtime laws, which generally provide more protection for employees than the federal law.

Here are some key legal points to remember:

  • Employers cannot require or encourage employees to work off the clock. This includes pressuring employees to work through unpaid breaks or lunch periods.
  • Employees must be paid for all hours worked, even if they are not officially “on the clock.” This includes time spent performing work-related tasks, even if those tasks are done from home or outside of regular work hours.
  • Employees are entitled to overtime pay for any hours worked in excess of 40 per week. This applies to most non-exempt employees, regardless of their hourly wage or salary.

What Are the Consequences of Off-the-Clock Work?

For employers, engaging in off-the-clock work practices can have serious legal consequences. They may be required to pay back wages and liquidated damages to affected employees, as well as face penalties from the Department of Labor. Additionally, such practices can damage employee morale and lead to increased turnover.

For employees, working off the clock can result in lost wages and overtime pay. It can also lead to burnout and other health problems.

How to Protect Yourself From Off-the-Clock Work

Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself from off-the-clock work:

  • Keep accurate records of your work hours, including start times, end times, and any off-the-clock work performed. This can be done through a timesheet, calendar, or other tracking system.
  • Report all off-the-clock work to your supervisor immediately. This can be done verbally or in writing.
  • Contact your employer’s human resources department if you have any questions or concerns about off-the-clock work.
  • File a complaint with the Department of Labor if your employer violates your rights.

Pursuing Compensation for Off-the-Clock Work

New York City employers must keep accurate records of the time their employees work. Employers must keep records of their employees’ minimum wage time, overtime, and off-the-clock time. There is no scenario in which an employer can ask an employee who is paid hourly to complete work without clocking in and receiving pay. 

Employers cannot even permit an employee to work while off the clock. If you’ve been pressured into doing off-the-clock work, the attorneys at Lipsky Lowe LLP will hold your employer accountable. We will force your employer to produce employment records; if they don’t have adequate records, we can show that they cannot prove that they’ve adequately paid you. Our attorneys can also help you understand your legal options, such as whether you should pursue a federal, state, or local claim and the best legal strategy available. 

Contact a New York City Employment Attorney Today

If your employee requires you to do off-the-clock work without pay, the attorneys at Lipsky Lowe LLP are here to help. Our wage and hour attorneys have successfully represented many victims of wage and hour violations. We hold New York City employers accountable when they fail to pay employees compensation for the full time they work. Contact Lipsky Lowe LLP today to schedule a case evaluation and learn more about your legal rights and options.