Employees must be paid for their work.  When an employer refuses to do so, it violates both state and federal law.

Certain employees (called “non-exempt”) are entitled to overtime pay for all hours worked over 40 in a week.  Overtime pay is one and a half times the employee’s regular pay rate.  If an employer refuses to pay overtime, an employee can sue for the unpaid wages and other damages.  Employers are also required to pay employees a minimum wage for all hours worked.  For most employees, this is $7.25 per hour.  For employees who earn tips, it is $2.13 per hour.  Employers cannot require employees to work “off the clock,” that is, engage in work duties without pay.  And they cannot ask employees to “volunteer” for the employer, which is the same as working off the clock.

Other employees (called “exempt”) are not entitled to overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours in a week.  Exempt employees are typically managers, supervisors, and professionals such as doctors, accountants and engineers.  These exempt employees cannot have their pay “docked” or reduced when they miss work.  For example, if an exempt employee misses several hours of work due to a doctor’s appointment, the employer cannot reduce his pay for that amount of time.  Reductions in pay for absences may violate state and federal law and can result in the award of the lost pay and additional damages.

If your employer asks you to work off the clock, fails to pay you minimum wage, fails to pay you overtime, makes changes to your time clock entries, or docks your pay for absences, your rights may have been violated.