The federal Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to pay most hourly employees, and all non-exempt employees (including certain salaried employees), an overtime premium for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek.
Importantly, hours worked means all time an employer “suffers or permits” employees to work. This can include time that is not recorded on the time clock or on your timesheet. “Suffer or permit” means that if the employer requires or allows you to work, or knew or should have known you were working, your employer generally has to pay you for that time. If the employer could not have known you were working, a court might find the time is not compensable.
Unpaid time adds up quickly. It can make a big difference in how much pay or overtime compensation your employer owes you.
While ideally an employee will have some documentary evidence of the unpaid time (“off the clock”) worked, like emails or phone records, that kind of evidence is not necessary. An employee may still seek compensation for unpaid time without documentary evidence, by providing a good faith estimate of the unpaid time worked.
Anderson v. Mt. Clemens Pottery: Burden of Proving Off-the-Clock Work
IBP, Inc. v. Alvarez: Law of Compensation for Waiting
Integrity Staffing v. Busk: Principal Activities Law
Steiner v. Mitchell: Integral and Indispensable Equals Compensable
Tyson Foods v. Bouaphakeo: Representative Proof in Wage Classes