Can an employer force you to do off the clock security while they count cash in back?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can an employer force you to do off the clock security while they count cash in back?

My son works a chain that is
robbed frequently. He is made to
stay on camera, off the clock at the
entrance of the business white
cash is being counted. I feel he is a
sitting duck for criminals and is
being put in known danger. Does
him being off the clock free them
of liability if he is injured?

Asked on July 5, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

They  can force him to do security. They would only be liable if he is harmed if they were at fault in some way, and they very well may not be: an employer is not generally liable for the criminal activities of other persons any more than you would be liable if someone broke into your house while you had company over and robbed or assaulted one of your guests. If your   son is injured by criminal activity at work, to successfully sue, you have to be able to show something the employer did which was "unreasonably careless"--i.e. less than the average similar store/business owner in an area like this one generally does--which directly contributed to the crime occuring and the injury resulting.
On clock or off has no bearing on liability; again, liability is based on whether you can show that the employer was at fault in some way. 
Note that your son--if he is an hourly employee (i.e. paid based on hours worked) MUST be paid for *all* work he does--including the security work while cash is being counted. There is no such thing as legal off-the-clock work for hourly employees: all work must be tracked (i.e. "on the clock") and paid. If your son is not being paid for work he is doing, including the security work you describe, he could contact the state or federal department of labor to file a wage and hour complaint.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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