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

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 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.


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