In the last few months, there has been a rash of federal court lawsuits across the country in which nonexempt employees have alleged that their employers have failed to pay them and their co-workers for off-the-clock work. These employees have sought overtime pay for work performed in addition to their weekly 40 hours of on-the-clock work. Recent court cases that have alleged employer knowledge of off-the-clock work include companies such as Michaels Stores Inc., Peloton Interactive Inc., Wells Fargo Bank NA, BOK Financial Corp, NCR Corp. and Liberty Mutual Group Inc., just to name a few.
Employers are often flabbergasted to discover their nonexempt employees have been working very early mornings, during meal breaks, late nights or weekends off-the-clock. Apparently, no one in management asked or knew that off-the-clock work had occurred.
Here are a few scenarios:
- Employees were told not to work more than 40 hours per week, but also understood they had to complete all their work by the end of their shift;
- Employees clocked out for an extended meal period, but continued to read emails, take phone calls, send texts or work while on break;
- Incompetent employees were not able to complete their tasks in 40 hours but did not want anyone to know, so they worked extra hours off the clock before others arrived at work or after everyone was gone for the day;
- Without telling anyone, employees worked weekends and/or nights at home; or
- Employees loved their employer and thought they were helping to make the company better by donating extra hours to get the job done.