Is it legal for an employer to ask me to work time off the clock and then fire me when I don’t do so?


Asked on November 18, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, it is not legal. All work time is compensable time. In other words, an employee is entitled to be paid for all work done for their employer. Asking an employee to work for no pay is illegal.
Notwithstanding the above, in an "at will" employment arrangement, an employer can set the terms of work much as it deems necesary or sees fit. Therefore, an employer can terminate an employee for any reason or no reason at all, with or without notice.
That having been said, you still have the issue of working off the clock. At this point, you can consult with an employment law attorney and/or file a complaint with your state's department of labor.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes and no.
Yes in that your employer may ask you to work beyond your normal shift (e.g. evenings, weekends, holidays, etc.) and terminate you if you fail to do so.
No in that if you are an hourly employee, you can't be required to work off the clock; you must be paid for all hours worked. Firing you for not working for no pay--that's what working "off the clock" means; being forced to work for free--is illegal, because making you work without pay would be a violation of the labor laws (e.g. the Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSL). You may wish to contact your state department of labor to file a complaint, or else speak with an employment law attorney about possibly bringing a lawsuit.

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