Daniel.Tan | June 28, 2023 | 0 Comments

Is Working Off the Clock Illegal for Employees in Ohio

The laws regarding working off the clock in Ohio can get a bit murky. FLSA laws regarding overtime work depends on if you’re considered an “exempt” employee and receive an annual salary or if you’re “non-exempt” and get paid hourly. Working overtime when you’re exempt is completely legal and your employer is not expected to compensate you for any time you spend working outside of the normal workday. And, while the act of a non-exempt employee working overtime is not illegal, employers refusing to pay them for extra hours is against the law.

Is Working Off the Clock Illegal for Employees

To determine what laws apply to you regarding working overtime, you must first determine if you’re an exempt or non-exempt employee. Typically, if you get paid an annual salary (ex. $30,000 paid out over the course of the year) you are “exempt” because you can usually count on making that money consistently throughout the year.

A lot of FLSA laws don’t pertain to exempt employees, payout for off-the-clock work being one of them. If you get paid hourly you may be “non-exempt” and likely protected by FLSA laws like requirement for off-the-clock pay.

Working Off the Clock in Ohio

It’s not unusual to have the perception that working off the clock is illegal for employees. Because of FLSA laws, employers who have workers performing job-related duties off the clock face a lot of problems, lawsuits for not paying their workers fairly being one of them. Because of this, a lot of managers monitor their employees hours closely and forbid any sort of work while the employee is on break or clocked out.

Types of Off-the-Clock Work

Off-the-clock work is, essentially, any work done that is not counted toward the employees hourly wages. Employees working off the clock may be doing any of their job duties but it is common to find them:

  • Shift preparation
  • Post-shift tear down or clean up
  • Admin work like filing, paperwork, answering phones, etc.
  • Project redos
  • Waiting for time between assignments

A lot of employers believe they only need to pay their employees while they’re doing work related to the position (i.e. a server while they’re waiting on tables), but any job-related duties including cleaning, admin work, and others should be paid.

Working Off the Clock Lawsuits in Ohio

In Ohio, employees working off the clock can bring lawsuits against their employer that may require the company to pay back wages for the time the worker wasn’t properly compensated as well as liquidated damages and attorney’s fees. Because the cost of paying someone overtime is higher than paying someone regular time, a lot of companies try to get around compensating workers for their overtime work. While it may seem like a lot to pay at the time, overtime pay is a lot cheaper than a lawsuit.

Preventing Off-the-Clock Work

Time tracking is the key to preventing a lawsuit for requiring employees to work off the clock without proper pay. Managers should pay attention to when an employee is/isn’t clocked in and not ask for any help unless the person is tracking their time working. Further, it’s important to pay attention to when employees come close to their allotted 40 hours to avoid paying them overtime or requiring them to work extra off the clock.

If You Haven’t Been Paid for Working Off the Clock in Ohio

If you feel you have been taken advantage of and not paid fairly for working overtime or forced to work off the clock in Ohio, you have a right to your back wages. Contact a lawyer regarding a “working off the clock” lawsuit in Ohio to earn the money you deserve.

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