Do I have a claim against my company or am I eligible to receive unemployment until I find a better job?

Over the last few months, I have been made to work involuntarily on my scheduled days off. This has happened multiple times where my employer will ask if I can work via email and without a response they place me on the schedule. I have text and emails from the vice president of the company who makes the schedules, explaining why he did this. I have been forced to drive to mandatory trainings for 4 hours and did not receive payment for them. I would like to know if you think I have a case against my employer or would I be eligible for unemployment until I find a better job?

Asked on July 1, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you are entitled to pay for *all* time you worked, whether it was a scheduled work day or scheduled day off or otherwise. If you are a salaried employee, when you worked on "days off," that day is considered a workday--what that means for salaried staff is that if it was a weekend or holiday, you are not owed anything else (since salaried staff can be made to work weekends, holidays, etc. without pay), BUT if you used a paid day off (like a vacation or personal day) for it, they need to give you that day back--when salaried staff works on a vacation day, for example, they don't have to use vacation.
If hourly, then you must be paid for all hours you can prove you worked--and overtime, if/when you worked more than 40 hours in a week, including these additional hours.
You could contact the department of labor to file a complaint and for help (they are more likely to help in the case of hourly wages unpaid, then salaried vacation days, however). You could also sue your employer if need be for the money and/or days off. 
You would not be eligible for unemployment benefits if you quit; leaving under these conditions would be considered a voluntary separation from employment.


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