Is it legal to not allow your employees to clock out?

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Is it legal to not allow your employees to clock out?

Tonight the store closed at 8 pm but nearly all the associates were scheduled until 8:30 pm. Once this time came the assistant managers wanted us to keep working and said we couldn’t leave; they had announced on the intercom that we were not allowed to clock out. Many people were angry about this as they had plans and argued and were told directly by management they were not allowed to leave. It left a very bad taste in the air. I was curious if what they did is allowed?

Asked on December 24, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Actually, it is allowed. That is unless this action breached the terms of an employment contract, union agreement or violated existing company policy (or constituted some form of actionable discrimination). The fact is that an "at will" employer may dictate the terms and conditions of employment much as it sees fit. This includes any increase or decrease in hours, withor without notice. For its part, an at will employee can continue to work for an employer or not.

You should be aware however, that if you are a non-exempt (hourly) employee, you are entitled to overtime for any hours over 40 that you work in a given week.


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