Is it legal for an employer to not pay a trainee for a weeks worth of work?

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Is it legal for an employer to not pay a trainee for a weeks worth of work?

My girlfriend was interviewed for a job at a restaurant. From my understanding all went well except they never said she was hired. They said they would give her a week trile run to see if she qualifies for the job and for the past week shes been working full stand 8 hour days. I understand she isn’t considered an employee but is it legal for an employer to get a free weeks of work out of somebody and not pay them? I havent been able to find anything specific about this reading on state labor laws. From my understanding is was all on company time, she was preforming all the basic functions of what they are considering to hire her for. Should she expect to get paid for it?

Asked on April 30, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You are wrong: she was an employee for the week she worked. If someone only works 5 minutes before quiting or being terminated, she is an employee for those 5 minutes. And there is no such thing as legal unpaid work: if someone employees you to do work, you *must* be paid for all work you did--again, even if you only worked 5 minutes before they changed their mind and fired you, you have to be paid for those 5 minutes. Your girlfriend is owed at least minimum wage all hours she worked during her trial run, and she could sue, such as in small claims court as her own attorney or "pro se" for the money. 


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