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Off-The-Clock Scams

Our New York attorneys are experienced in identifying and prosecuting employers who cheat their workers through off-the-clock scams. Off-the-clock scams can result in unpaid regular wages, minimum wage violations, and overtime violations.

This type of scam occurs when an employer requires employees to work off-the-clock, but only pays them for hours worked on the clock. When employers cheat employees through any of these scams, they should not be permitted to get away with it. Unfortunately, law enforcement rarely prosecutes wage theft cases.   

The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (“FLSA”) and New York Labor Law require that employees who not are exempt from overtime and minimum wage laws be paid at least the minimum wage and be paid time and a half for all overtime hours worked.  In addition, New York courts have held that non-exempt employees must be paid for every hour they work.

How These Scams Work

Dishonest employers use several common dirty tricks when committing off-the-clock scams, including the following:

  • Requiring workers to begin working before they clock in. This might include having restaurant or other service workers wait until the first customer arrives before punching in. In other cases, employees may be required to participate in a shift meeting before punching in.
  • Requiring workers to work through their meal break, while deducting time for the break in the time-keeping system. Automatic deductions are permitted when the workers are required to take those breaks. However, deductions are illegal when the employer knows the workers are not able to take those breaks.
  • Requiring employees to punch out for the day and keep working off-the-clock.
  • Rounding down employee hours can also be illegal. This might involve rounding a worker’s recorded time down to the nearest fifteen minutes, but never rounding up.
  • Failing to pay workers for on-call time, when the workers are not free to attend to their personal business.
  • Failing to pay workers for the time spent traveling between job sites after arriving at work. Employees are not entitled to be paid for their commute to and from work. However, once an employee arrives at work, he is entitled to be paid for time spent traveling between worksites.
  • Not paying employees for work-related meetings or training sessions.

Time Shaving

Another common scam is “time shaving.” Time shaving occurs when an employer changes time records to indicate that the employee worked fewer hours than she actually worked. Employer’s also completely fabricate time records to support the their lie that the worker is not entitled to unpaid wages. Unfortunately, these practices are far too common.  

If you think that you may be the victim of an off-the-clock scam, contact us for a free consultation.

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