Can my employer ask me to work for free?

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Can my employer ask me to work for free?

I was hired as a volunteer coordinator. During the hiring process I was told that I would organize community events for our volunteers to participate it. I was told I would be paid for attending these events. Recently, I was told that I would no longer be paid for attending events but that I should still go. I was also asked to start another project that requires me to drive my car during work time, and that i would not be reimbursed for milage. I am an hourly paid employee. Is this legal?

Asked on July 30, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Montana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) No, an hourly employee must be paid for all work done, and "work" is anything that the employer requires them to do, like attending events. If you have the right to say "no" and not go but choose to go because you believe it will look good and help you at work, they don't have to pay you--attending is then your choice. But if you *must* go, then that is work and they must pay you. If they don't, you could contract the state's department of labor to file a complaint.
2) Employers are *not* required to reimburse for mileage, even when they require employees to use their own cars. They may require you to bear this cost yourself. However, if you keep good records of your mileage, you may be able to get a tax deduction for it: discuss this with your tax preparer.


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