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Working off the clock: Is it legal?

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In most workplaces in California, hourly employees are paid time-and-a-half for working overtime. In most cases, overtime refers to working more than 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week.

But a surprisingly common abuse of employees by employers is requiring them to work off the clock.

Why do employers require off-the-clock work? The obvious benefit for employers is not having to pay workers for overtime. But is it legal? To answer that question, it is necessary to determine how the employee is classified – that is, whether he or she is eligible for overtime pay:

  • Salaried employees generally do not qualify for overtime pay and may be expected to work more than 40 hours a week. However, there are exceptions.
  • Hourly employees are generally eligible for overtime pay. Employees may be eligible for overtime pay when they work more than 8 hours in a workday or 40 hours in a workweek.

There are many special circumstances that may apply in these cases. For example, some employees may be misclassified as exempt or non-exempt employees.

Some employees have been required to work off-the-clock for months or even years. Some employees that should have been paid overtime never have. In any case, it is important to understand what the law says. Since the laws in this area are complex, it is important to work with an attorney to determine if you are eligible for overtime pay and to determine if your employer has been violating the law. You may be entitled to compensation and back pay.

Free consultation: Call Bononi Law Group, LLP, at to schedule a consultation with an employment law attorney.

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