Can I be forced to take an after-hours class without compensation for my time or travel?

I’m a salary non-exempt electronic engineer. The entire engineering department that I work in is being required to take a communications and human relations course one evening a week for several weeks with no compensation for our time or travel to the classes.

Asked on September 7, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you're being forced to take the class, it probably is work, so non-exempt employees should be paid overtime IF the extra hour(s) put them over the edge--i.e. if as a result of the class time, they work more than 40 hours in the week. If so, they need compensation at 1.5 times their base rate for the time over 40 hours. Hourly employees would be paid for the extra time, even if they don't clock enough hours for overtime; salaried non-exempt staff are only paid if they would get overtime (otherwise, the salary covers all base compensation, even if some of it is at night). There is no requirement for the company to pay travel expenses.


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