The Litigation Boutique LLC
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You cannot be forced to work off the clock

A previous post here discussed how a major corporation in the Denver area has been accused of violating wage and hour laws. The post explained that the corporation had been accused of giving its employees too much work to do in order to effectively force them into working uncompensated overtime.

Should these allegations be proven, then it would mean that the company violated a basic principle of employment law. That principle is that workers who get paid by the hour must get compensated for all time worked.

An employer in Colorado cannot require, or even permit, employees to work off the clock. If they do, the employer may owe back wages and other damages. The workers would also be entitled to unpaid overtime compensation if they would have earned it had they been properly clocked in.

It is a rare day, however, when an employer will flagrantly force its employees to work off the clock. Usually, there are some more subtle tricks employers might try. For example, an employer may require that an employee do setup or cleanup duties with the expectation that they will do them off the clock. In other cases, employers set out mandatory tasks, like completing reports or doing other job-related tasks, but do not give employees enough time to complete them. As a result, an employee may feel compelled to finish the work off-shift. This is part of what happened in the recent case reported on our blog.

Finally, some employers may punish an employee for allegedly shoddy work by making the employee re-do it on the employee's own time or suggesting that the employee will face discipline if the worker is unwilling to correct the mistake for free. These tricks are illegal under federal and state wage and overtime laws. If a Denver-area employee has been the victim of one of these schemes, that worker may be entitled to compensation through a wage and hour claim.

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