Off-the-Clock Work is Unpaid Overtime
A recent U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division investigation into the time-keeping records of social networking company LinkedIn Corp. revealed that the company was in violation of certain provisions of the Fair Labor and Standards Act with respect to off-the-clock work rendered by 359 past and present employees from various company branches, including New York. The company promptly paid back wages and liquidated damages for a total of more than $6 million to the employees concerned and agreed to take proactive measures to prevent it from happening again.
In that case, there was no need for litigation as the company did not challenge the results of the investigation. However, that is more an exception than the rule. In most cases, companies deny any wrongdoing, and it is necessary for employees to find relief in litigation.
It is definitely not an easy decision to make, because most employees are afraid of losing their jobs especially at the time when so many people are unemployed. However, employers have no right to take advantage of this fact as it is in direct contradiction not only of state but also federal laws protecting employee rights. In many cases, employees wait until they are employed elsewhere before they file a lawsuit. According to the website of employment law firm Cary Kane, unpaid overtime is wage theft, and employees in New York-based companies have a right to sue for unpaid overtime and other wages up to 6 years after the fact.
It also helps a case when more than one employee files a complaint at the same time because it increases the credibility of the plaintiffs and indicates a systematic violation of employment law. If you believe that your company is not paying you as they should under the law, take steps to correct the matter. Report the violation to the proper authorities and retain legal counsel to advise you on your legal options.