Is it illegal for a job not to pay you if you are requried to be there?

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Is it illegal for a job not to pay you if you are requried to be there?

I work the weekend shift at my job. I come in Friday at 3 pm and do not leave until Monday at 8 am. Every night I am required to clock out from the hours of 10 pm-7 am. I am not paid for those hours but I cannot leave my work site. Is this legal?

Asked on February 24, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It is most likely not legal. If you are required to be on the worksite, you are generally considered to be "working," even if you are not doing anything productive at the time. If you were free to leave and come back, but chose to stay onsite because it was easier for you, that would be a different story, as it would be a different story if you were only required to be "on call" and reachable by phone at need. However, having to stay at work is very likely work--and thus, yoiu must be paid. (Certainly, your employer could pay you a lesser rate for certain hours, as long as its at least minimum wage.)

Since the facts of a case are critical, it is possible there is some unusual or exceptional circumstance justifying nonpayment in your case--but that would be an unusual case.

You may be owed money, at your rate of pay, for the hours of 10 pm - 7 am for each day you had to stay at work; sometimes you can also recover additional compensation in a case like this, like extra damages or attorney's fees. Given how much is potentially at stake, it is worthwhile consulting with an employment law attorney to explore your rights and recourse.


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