Overtime Dispute for Off-the-Clock Work

Overtime Dispute for Off-the-Clock Work

Jun 03

Most non-exempt employees are not aware that work done “off-the-clock” i.e. before and after a work shift or at home constitutes overtime and may be the basis for an overtime dispute. Wisconsin follows the overtime laws set under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and under the FLSA, it is perfectly possible to claim for damages for off-the-clock work. In Wisconsin, overtime is defined as hours worked in excess of 40 hours in one workweek, and must be paid at a rate of 1.5 times the regular hourly rate of the employee.

How is off-the-clock work defined?

Off-the-clock work is obviously done outside the time in-time out of employees, so there are no records kept for those hours worked unless an employer records such hours. Nevertheless, if an employee can demonstrate that time has been put in outside regular work hours for job-related tasks even if there is no time record of it, then an overtime dispute can have a positive outcome. The rationale behind this is that the employer had knowledge or a reasonable belief that such off-the-clock work was being performed because the employer controls the work and maintains records of an employee’s activities. Some of the off-the-clock work that the FLSA has deemed to be overtime work includes:

  • Equipment maintenance or preparation
  • Fielding work-related calls before and after regular work hours
  • Meal periods spent working
  • Preparing reports and other documents at home
  • Work-related meetings, conventions, seminars

When an employer fails to keep records of these off-the-record work activities, the employee may still claim those hours worked in good faith provided it benefits the employer and the employer did not forbid the performance of the work activity. In many cases, employees are under the impression that if it is not recorded, it cannot be claimed. An overtime dispute lawyer in Wisconsin will definitely know how to prepare for a case so that the employee will recover lost wages in terms of the overtime wages that was not paid in full.