Is it legal to take out pay from an employee and call it ‘volunteer hours’

My mother works for a non-profit thrift store.
Every month the employer takes out 5 hours
from her paycheck and calls it ‘volunteer
hours’. She did not agree to this nor does she
want it as she is only working part-time
anyways. Is this legal for the employee to do
this?

Asked on September 18, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

It is not even remotely legal. An hourly employee must be paid for all hours worked and cannot be forced to work for free or donate her time. Your mother could contact the state or federal department(s) of labor to file a complaint: she should be entitled to unpaid back wages and to be paid for this time in the future. She could also retain an employment law attorney to help her recover unpaid wages, but since the department's help is free, that would be a good place to start.


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