Unpaid work and the FLSA

Workers in Tennessee should not perform work that is not compensated or is not applied to overtime. Employers are generally required by the Fair Labor Standards Act to pay overtime to employees who work over 40 hours a week.

The FLSA provides protections for a majority of employees, including protections related to overtime and minimum wages. The legislation exempts employees who work in administrative, professional or executive positions as well as those who are employed in specific industries, like farming or sales based on commissions. The FLSA requires that all non-exempt employees are paid for all of the hours that they work.

Working off the clock refers to work that is completed on behalf of an employer but is not compensated or included in the weekly hours that employees work for overtime. According to federal law, time that an employer permits or requires employees to work should be compensated. Suffered work, or work that the employee performs that has been permitted but not requested, may still require compensation by the employer.

There are multiple forms of off-the-clock work, which includes work completed away from the workplace. Typical off-the-clock work includes non-compensated preparation, like moving equipment, worksite preparation or readying a restaurant in advance of a shift. There is rework that is unpaid, such as an employer asking an employer to correct mistakes with no pay. There is also performing non-compensated administrative tasks, such as management meetings or completing paperwork.

Workers who believe that their employers have violated wage and hour laws should speak with an attorney who practices employment law. Employers may be held liable for denying employee breaks, overtime and adequate pay. The attorney may file a lawsuit under the FLSA and may petition for client back pay, lost wages and punitive damages from the employer.

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