If I came in an hour early at work one day in my company uniform to do my personal shopping, can a manager write me up for not helping a customer during that time?

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If I came in an hour early at work one day in my company uniform to do my personal shopping, can a manager write me up for not helping a customer during that time?

I was still off the clock.

Asked on January 7, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Employees can have their normal work schedule changed without notice, absent company policy or a union agreement or employment contract to the contrary. This includes be made to work under the circumstances that you have described. That having been said, all work time is compensable, so had you worked you would have had to have been paid for your time (assuming that you are paid hourly).

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes: employees can be required to work other than their normal hours (the employer, not the employee determines the hours), even when the employee is "off the clock," and can be disciplined for a failure or refusal to work. (Of course, if you had worked--if you had helped the customer--you would have needed to have been paid for the time you spend doing so, if you are an hourly employee.)


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