As an hourly worker, you should receive wages for all of the work you do. If your employer asks you to pick up an extra shift and you put in more than 40 hours, they have to pay you overtime wages for those extra hours. They should also pay you for all of your tasks, however small.
Some companies will go to great lengths to avoid overtime wages or to reduce how much they pay their workers in general. Companies might try to convince their staff members that they need to perform certain job functions when they aren’t on the clock and won’t receive any payment for those efforts.
Is it legal to demand that you do work without compensation if you are an hourly employee in Kentucky?
Your employer should pay you for any routine job functions
Your right to at least minimum wage and overtime pay does not suddenly disappear because your employer wants to keep their costs low. If you do work for the company, they need to compensate you accordingly.
There are several ways that your employer might try to trick you into working off the clock. They might tell you during your initial training that there are some jobs you have to do before you start your shift or after you clock out at the end of one. They might even tell you that the company has occasional days where everyone comes in together to work on a project without pay.
An example might be a restaurant that closes on a Sunday, hosts a “pizza party” and then demands that every staff member show up to help do a deep clean of the kitchen. The workers have to be there and have to perform job tasks, so they should receive their hourly wage while at the “pizza party” that is really a thinly-veiled cover for uncompensated work. Other examples of forcing employees to work off the clock might include telling you to handle social media messages after your shift.
Any routine job responsibilities should entitle you to hourly pay
Sometimes, the easiest way to prove your employer’s policies is to keep detailed records of when they demand that you were and what they actually pay you for your effort. When there are obviously shifts that go without compensation or recurring tasks that occur when you are not on the clock, the company may have violated your rights.
You and any other workers affected by these practices could potentially file a lawsuit seeking your unpaid wages. Records of when you do uncompensated work and how the employer enforces these requirements can help you build a claim, possibly involving multiple co-workers. Fighting back against unpaid wages can help employees demand fair treatment from their employers.