Can your boss make you clock in and out as customers come?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can your boss make you clock in and out as customers come?

I come into work and then I clock in when a customer comes, and then
if there’s nothing else to do I have to clock out until there is
something to do. That repeats all day, when I leave at night my slip
tells me how many hours I worked, and for example yesterday I was
scheduled for 5 1/2 hour shift, but I only got paid for 3.22 hours.

Asked on April 2, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Maryland


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

This is completely illegal. All time that you are required to be at work is work time, whether are "working" the moment (e.g. serving customers) or not. What your boss is doing is a violation of wage and hour laws, such as the Fair Labor Standards Act or FLSA: you clock in when you come in, clock out when you go on lunch break (as long as you're not working through lunch), clock back in after lunch, then clock at the end of the day. Customers have NO bearing on your time, hours, or pay. You could bring a wage and hour complaint to your state labor department and seek back unpaid wages for the time you were at work but were  not paid. 
Note that if it's a slow day and your boss sends you home early, that's different: if you're released from work and told to leave, you can be clocked out early then--but not if you're still at work, waiting for a customer.

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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption