Is it legal to make an employee clock out, leave, then return later the same day to finish their shift?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is it legal to make an employee clock out, leave, then return later the same day to finish their shift?

I work in a surgery department in Ohio.
On slow days they make us take days off
unpaid, called coh convenience off
hospital. Recently they stayed making
us leave in middle of our shift for 2
or 3 hours and then come back to finish
our shift at regular pay even though
they pay us on call pay while off the
clock. Now they are going to start
making us ‘be on call’ until noon on
days that we are coh’d in case
something happens and another room is
needed to be added. This would also be
at regular pay. Is there anything that
we can do about this?

Asked on July 8, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

No, companies are allowed to have employees "on call" until needed, and also to do split shifts, where they work, clock, then come back and work later. As long as the employees are being paid for all the hours they do work---and are free to leave the premises when not working (when off the clock), since if they can't leave (e.g. are restricted to premises), that would be considered "working" (since they are held to a location at the employer's direction), even if not actually performing work at the time--this is legal.

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.

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