Have a general question about employment law? Want to share a story? I welcome all comments and questions. I can't give legal advice here about specific situations but will be glad to discuss general issues and try to point you in the right direction. If you need legal advice, contact an employment lawyer in your state. Remember, anything you post here will be seen publicly, and I will comment publicly on it. It will not be confidential. Govern yourself accordingly. If you want to communicate with me confidentially as Donna Ballman, Florida lawyer rather than as Donna Ballman, blogger, my firm's website is here.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Help! My Employer Is Making Me Work Overtime Off The Books. What Do I Do?

This question from an AOL Jobs reader reflects an all too common situation that many hourly workers face:
Hello. I was reading an article 10 Tricks Employers Use To Cheat Workers Out Of Their Overtime. Here's my problem. My fiancée works at a restaurant, and she recently received a raise from $9/hr to $12/hr. But the owner asked her to take her overtime off the books. The first 2 weeks went by without a hitch, but over the past month, her OT has been short. The past week, she worked 10 hours OT, and received $90, which not only is less than the $18/hr that she is entitled, but he gave her less than her normal 12/hr. He claims that he can't afford to pay her overtime. What should we do? She's clocked in for every minute that she's there, and gets a little slip every time she punches out, but the owner still cuts her a check for usually 38 or 39 hrs, and gives her whatever he pleases in regard to her OT. What can we do?
Many employers cheat hourly employees out of overtime, and demanding they work "off book" is one way they do it. In this case, your fiancée has proof of her hours, so she has some options. You asked two different questions: "What can we do?" and "What should we do?" There may be two different answers, but my latest article at AOL Jobs discusses your options.

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I appreciate your comments and general questions but this isn't the place to ask confidential legal questions. If you need an employee-side employment lawyer, try http://exchange.nela.org/findalawyer to locate one in your state.