Can I volunteer my time for free at my current job to gain extra experience?

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Can I volunteer my time for free at my current job to gain extra experience?

I work 40 hours a week for the Town of Smyrna as a water plant treatment operator. I am interested in cross training to maintenance to gain extra experience but the town won’t pay me overtime to do that. I was wondering if I can legally volunteer my time to work maintenance without getting paid, and freeing up the town any liability if I were to get injured. Not sure if there is a special form I would need to sign or and Afa David not sure if I spelled that currectly. I want to be able to work on my off days in maintenance to gain that experience and want to know if there is a legal avenue to make that happen. Anything you can provide would be greatly appreciated

Asked on December 6, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, you cannot: if you are an hourly employee or a non-exempt salaried employee, the law mandates that you must be paid for all hours worked (hourly employee) and for overtime when working more than 40 hours (hourly and non-exempt salary). You are NOT allowed to give up that pay: the law does that to prevent employers from coercing employees into "volunteering" to work for free.


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