Can your boss make you get to work early but not allow you to clock in when you get there?

I have been called in my boss’s office several times recently for not getting to work early enough. The most recent I was 8 minutes early and was told that if I didn’t start getting to work 10 minutes early at the latest that “as quick as I was promoted, I could be demoted”. If I get to work 10 minutes early I cannot clock in for that time, therefore I will not be compensated for it. A co-worker told me the same thing happened to him and when he clocked in early (at the time he was told to be there) for a week a supervisor changed his time sheet so there was no overtime. Is this legal?

Asked on July 17, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Alabama


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, this is illegal. An hourly employee (the only type for whom "clocking in" matters legally) must be paid for ALL time worked, and an employer is violating law, such as the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, by not recording time, paying for all time, or paying overtime when employees work more than 40 hours in a workweek. Your co-worker and you may wish to speak to your state Dept. of Labor about this to consider filing a wage and hour compliant--you are entitled to be compensated for all time worked.

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