What should I do if I am accused by my employer of working off the clock?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What should I do if I am accused by my employer of working off the clock?

Employer accused me of working off the clock and informed me that they were conducting an investigation against me. I didn’t admit to working off the clock but resigned from my job because I knew that they were trying to fire me. This company created working conditions that made it impossible to complete your work in the 8 hour work day unless you committed fraud or worked off the clock.

I wrote a detailed email to the HR director of my area explaining all of the unethical practices being

implemented by management. Then, 2 weeks after I resigned, the company sent me a debit card loaded with the amount they claimed I was do for my work off the clock. I was never contacted about the results of the investigation or notified about receiving the debit card before it arrived. What should I do with it?

Asked on August 17, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Maryland


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You can keep/use the debit card: based on what you write, they are paying you for the work you did "off the clock" (or at least what they believe that time to have been), which is what they should do if you are an hourly employee--you must be paid for all time worked, whether on-shift or off.
However, unless you had a written employment contract protecting your employment or preventing you from being fired for this reason, you were an employee at will, so you could be terminated at any time, for any reason whatsoever, including the employer not liking how or when you work. So you have no recourse for being terminated.
It does not matter how bad or impossible work conditions were: another consequence of this nation's "employment at will" is that the employer may make work conditions or an employee's workload or duties awful, unfair, unethical, and impossible, and that is legal. There are no limitations on how hard you can be worked or how much you have to accomplish, for example.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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