8 workplace rights you might not know you have

As I’ve noted here a lot, people often think that they have legal rights at work that they don’t actually have — many people mistakenly think that it’s illegal to be fired for no reason, or that it’s illegal for their boss to be a jerk to them, or that it’s illegal for a past employer to give them a bad reference. None of those things are illegal … but you do have some rights at work that you might not know about.

Here are eight of the most important workplace rights you might not realize you have.

1. Your employer can’t withhold your paycheck for poor performance. No matter how poorly you perform, your employer can’t dock your salary. Make an error that costs the business thousands of dollars? Break an important piece of equipment? These are costs of doing business for your employer, and it can’t come out of your paycheck. Of course, if you really mess up, you might get fired, but you still must be paid for all the hours you worked.

2. You must receive your paycheck promptly. Most state laws dictate how soon you must receive your paycheck after a pay period ends. In some states, your employer may even be required to pay you additional money on top of your wages as a penalty if your paycheck is late.

3. Whether you’re eligible for overtime pay isn’t up to your employer; the government decides. The federal government divides all types of jobs into one of two categories: exempt and non-exempt. If your job is categorized as non-exempt, your employer must pay you overtime (time and a half) for all hours you work above 40 in any given week. Your categorization is not up to your employer; it’s determined by government guidelines.

4. Your employer cannot ask, require, or even allow you to work off the clock. If you’re a non-exempt employee, you must be paid for all time worked. You can’t waive this right. Moreover, your employer cannot give you comp time in lieu of overtime pay.

5. Your employer can’t stop you from discussing your salary with your coworkers. The National Labor Relations Act says that employers can’t prevent employees from discussing wages among themselves. Many employers have policies against this anyway, but these policies violate the law.

6. Similarly, your employer can’t stop you from discussing your working conditions with your coworkers. Here again, the National Labor Relations Act protects you. The reason for the law is that employees wouldn’t be able to organize if they were forbidden from talking with each other about such important issues.

7. Promises made in your employee handbook are often binding. Circumstances very, but in many cases, courts have ruled that promises made in employee handbooks are legally binding. In particular, pay attention to whether your employer writes that it “will” or “shall” take particular actions; those statements are more likely to be binding than statements that your employer “may” or “can” do something.

8. Your employer can’t pay you as a contractor while treating you like an employee. If your employer controls when, where, and how you work, the government says you’re an employee – and your company needs to pay your payroll taxes and offer you the same benefits it offers to regular employees.

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{ 213 comments… read them below }

  1. class factotum*

    your employer can’t take money out of your paycheck to pay for a mistake you made

    I made a $30,000 error in an order to the printer in my first job out of college. My salary was $20,000. They would have had to keep me there for a year and a half to pay for it.

  2. Meg*

    I had inventory stolen in my store, and as the manager, they took the cost of the inventory out of my paycheck. Hmph!

  3. Mike*

    The inability to use comp time (even at time and a half) instead of overtime has been a major pain at my current job. I’m a programmer and system admin but non-exempt so things like maintenance and the off hour revelation have been problematic.

    Even though it violates the laws we’ve been doing it anyways. If an issue comes up after hours we just take that time the next day. Or heck, just being realists and knowing that we often go over the 30 minute lunch allocation so doing 15 minute jobs after hours just balances out.

    Sometimes the laws that are designed to protect us just get in the way.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Yes, they do.

      If you’re taking comp time within the week that you earned it, there’s no legal issue. Overtime must be paid if you work more than 40 hours within one week — but if you’re taking comp time the very next day and thus staying under 40 hours for the week, overtime wouldn’t kick in.

      1. Mike*

        We looked into this last year and ran into some issues with California’s labor laws that made doing it “correctly” either impossible or impractical. Knowing our environment it might have been more on the impractical side.

        1. Z*

          I work at a public university in California, and when I started my current position, I signed a form saying I’d accept comp time (at 1 1/2 hours per hour worked late) in lieu of OT pay. I’m pretty sure this must be legal, at least in California, or the state universities wouldn’t be doing it for thousands of people.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            It could potentially be legal if they have safeguards built in, like ensuring that the comp time turns into cash that’s paid out when you leave, that there’s no “use it or lose it” rules, etc. But we’d need a California lawyer to say for sure. (I would not assume it’s legal just because a large employer is doing it.)

            1. Z*

              If we don’t use it within a certain period of time (maybe 6 months?), it’s paid out in cash, and it’s likewise paid out (like vacation time) if you leave.
              I agree that just because a large employer is doing something it’s legal, but it seems like if a *state* employer is doing something like this on a large scale, it’s probably legal in that state. I’m sure there are exceptions to this, though.

              1. Z*

                That should be, “that just because a large employer is doing something *doesn’t mean* it’s legal.”

                1. Not So NewReader*

                  If I am remembering correctly- railroad employees also have strange set of rules, yet totally legal because the laws vary for RR workers.

  4. Cruciatus*

    I wanted to post this at the U.S. News website, but couldn’t find a way to do it anonymously (which I’d prefer just in case anyone from my company reads this blog as well).

    The place I work requires employees to work 3 events for them throughout the year on Saturdays and Sundays. When you start working there they have you sign a paper saying you will do so–you’re exempt only if you happen to have working hours when these events take place. Usually you are asked to do it in 4 hour shifts and you get to take 4 hours off in the same pay period. Is there anything wrong with this? I’m guessing no…but a girl can dream.

    1. some1*

      I used to work for a company that an annual event held on a Saturday that everyone was required to work. The hourly employees got to take a comp day (or comp time if they worked less than 8 hours at the event) during the same pay period, but salaried employees didn’t get to.

  5. Contract Employee*

    Your employer can’t pay you as a contractor while treating you like an employee.

    This always causes confusion for me. I am currently a “temporary contract” employee for a large firm. The job was posted on the firm’s website, and all interviews were with their recruiter and hiring manager. After the recruiter called to offer me the job, I was sent to a staffing company for a drug test and background screening and then I started the job. I report my hours to the staffing co., and my paycheck comes from them weekly, but other than that they had no hand in my getting the job. I am part-time and receive no benefits (PTO or other). But I have to go into the office on the schedule that they set for me. I really have no complaints – this company often hires its contractors on as full-time and I like the job – but the set-up seems strange to me.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Paying people as contractors when the law says they should be employees is probably one of the top two most common legal violations at work. (The other one is almost certainly not paying overtime to people who should receive it.) That said, we’d need more details to know if that applies in your case.

      1. Contract Employee*

        The company almost always hires new non-exempt employees as contract (full or part time). The company does all the recruiting itself, but then pays you through a staffing company. No benefits (including health, PTO, 401k or flex-time/work from home – although my boss has accommodated me a couple of times when I needed to be home) and no guarantee that you will be hired (although many are). Those who are hired directly get all these benefits. When I first came on (early summer) I was told the position was budgeted through the end of the year and was recently told it was now through first quarter of 2013. The two people I work most closely with told me they started the same way and then were hired after a year or so. It appears that “new” positions are first hired as contract, while “replacement” positions tend to be direct hires. Is that enough detail?

          1. sally*

            I’m classed as “Contractor” working in a Call Centre, taking Calls from the company’s customers and answering email replies. (This is one of the largest companies in the world).
            We are paid $2 for each call or email we reply to.

            This company then listens to calls and checks our emails and if they don’t like it, we don’t get paid for that email or call. They might not like the tone of voice, if there is too many ‘umms’ or too much ‘dead air’ in the call. Or we don’t get paid for an email we have sent if we miss a comma or a full stop.
            Sometimes it takes 20 minutes per call or email, so potentially we can be working for $8 an hour, and this is in Australia. Then if they don’t like the email response, we lose $2 as they don’t pay us for that reply, plus, they average a percentage out so that it can affect your entire weeks pay. So for instance, one mistake, can cost you around $30 out of your pay that week.
            I work around 60 hrs a week (over 7 days per week) and earn around $280.
            We accept that our pay rate is low and the systems they give us to work with are very slow, which reduces our earning potential (can sometimes only answer 4 calls per hour due to their portal slowness), but deducting money from our pay for petty errors, surely this must be illegal?

        1. Jamie*

          Maybe it’s just regional colloquialisms, but you wouldn’t be called a contractor in my industry – but what you describe is a very common scenario in manufacturing. It doesn’t matter who does the finding, as long as you’re on the books of the temp agency they are your employer – the place you go to actually work is the client of your employer.

          Totally normal.

          1. The IT Manager*

            You’re right about confusing terminology. In government organizations, there’s a lot of “contractors” who are employed by companies who have a contract with the government entity and these people are all called “contractors” even though they don’t meet the definition of an independent contractor for IRS purposes. (Although unlike Contract Employee above many of these contractors get benefits.)

      2. Shannel*

        For the last couple of months I’ve been noticing that my over time hours have not been added to my check and they were also taking other hours off of my check . I always come in at least 2 or 3 hours early whenever asked . And since we have a new POS system , it allows the employees to see how many hours they have worked and if your hours have been adjusted or not . Me being the curios person I am , I decided to take a peek at my time schedule and I kid you not , ALL of my times had been adjusted. Especially the days that they had me come in early , they were taking those times back ! What should I do and do I have a lawsuit ?

    2. A freelancer*

      I perked up my ears to #8 as well. As a freelance editor whose main client requires me to work a shift daily (from home), I always wondered about the legality of this. Doubt it’s legal but I need the money. Maybe a lawyer can weigh in??

    3. Jamie*

      It sounds like you’re a temp which makes you an employee of your agency.

      I read this portion of the article as talking about paying as an independent contractor when working as a direct employee. Two very different scenarios.

      People confuse the two a lot, but it’s important to draw the distinction.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Yes — if you’re being paid as a 1099 contractor, that’s when there might be an issue. If your wages are reported on a W2 and the staffing company takes payroll taxes out of your check, this is legal.

        1. AnotherAlison*

          Is it also legal in a situation where the independent contractor (or even “freelancer”) has his own company, i.e. the staffing company? I can own a S-Corp or LLC and pay myself W-2 wages, even if I’m the only employee of the company, and I can contract myself to one employer who cuts checks to my corporation.

          I knew some people who did this after leaving the staffing agencies they were previously contracted with.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Yes — you’re being paid on a W2 so you’re not being paid as a contractor even if you’re working as a contractor. That’s the difference.

        2. Contract Employee*

          Yes, the staffing company takes payroll taxes out, so everything’s ok. But why would a company do things this way? Wouldn’t it be cheaper to just hire me than to pay the fees to the staffing company? It just seems strange and overly confusing – especially since there are quite a few of us and they use several different staffing companies.

          1. Jamie*

            If they use a lot of temp labor they are getting a cut on the fees…also tends to be lower when the agency doesn’t even have to find the candidates.

            Benefits cost a company a lot, as does unemployment, etc. a lot of companies use temps because their labor needs fluctuate greatly and it’s cheaper to pay the mark-up than to lay off tons of people when then labor need dips. Another reason they are used is as a trial period which both the candidate and the employer can test the waters before committing to a direct hire.

          2. AnotherAlison*

            In my industry, it was particularly common to do things this way for immigrant employees. I don’t remember the details, but it seemed like they had to have X years with one employer or something or they had to start the citizenship application process over again if they lost their job. It was safer for them to be with the staffing company who would place them consectively with multiple companies than to be direct and have to worry about layoffs.

    4. Kelly O*

      Had the same exact experience with a company that hired pretty much everyone temporarily through an agency. My paycheck went through the agency, but everything else happened with the company. When my temp assignment ended and I called the agency to check in, they didn’t even realize I’d been let go.

  6. Neeta (RO)*

    That’s interesting… according to Romanian labor laws the employer is allowed to temporarily dock your payment as a disciplinary measure. i.e. 5-10% of your base salary, for up to 3 months.

    What kind of disciplinary actions do employers practice in the US? Or do they just fire people?

    Also, what about reducing payment following a yearly evaluation? How often does this happen?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      In the U.S., most commonly, you’d be warned first and if the problem continued, you might be fired. (Although you certainly could be fired on the first offense … but in practice that’s more rare.)

      Some people do have their pay reduced following a poor evaluation, although that’s pretty rare. It would be more common to not get a raise and have your job in jeopardy. Using a lowered salary as a disciplinary measure isn’t illegal, but it’s not common. (It just can’t be retroactive.)

      1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

        Exactly this. The company can change your wages whenever it wants; but it *has* to pay you at the promised wage for all hours worked up until the wage change. But as Alison says, it seems fairly uncommon for an employee to experience a permanent dock in wages as the result of a disciplinary action.

        1. Neeta (RO)*

          I didn’t mean the reduced pay in lieu of a disciplinary action. That’s temporary according to my country’s laws as well.

          I just meant: what happens if you employer is not happy with your work.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            In practice, it’s most typical to be warned, sometimes several times, and then fired if the problems are severe enough and don’t improve. (There’s no legal requirement for the warnings; that’s just what’s most common.)

    2. Jamie*

      In manufacturing it’s also common to have suspensions (without pay) as part of a progressive discipline policy. And of course if you are a disciplinary problem that will probably be reflected in lesser or no pay increases/bonuses. But once payroll hours have been accrued then it needs to be paid in full.

      1. Mike C.*

        Yeah, we have day/three days off (not to be connected to the employee’s weekend). It’s a good strategy in my mind as you also get a cool-down period where investigation can go on for trickier situations.

      2. Your Mileage May Vary*

        I think it’s common in some of the service industries to be suspended without pay when the violation is bad enough. Law enforcement, for instance.

  7. ChristineH*

    #8 confused me as well. On two separate occasions, I was part-time temporary a couple of years ago with an organization, and I think they treated me as a contractor both times. I did have a set schedule, particularly for the first gig. However, if memory serves, it was mutually agreed upon; plus, it was easier for me for transportation reasons. I assume this was okay?

    1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      Nope! You as an employee cannot waive your right to wages if you are actually an employee. Of course, you have the right to not sue for lost wages, and in practical terms that’s the only way anyone will notice that it was illegal, but still. In *most* cases, if you have a set schedule where you have to appear at the office for a set amount of time at a set time, you’re an employee.

      Though, it’s worth mentioning that state laws on this can differ from federal, because why wouldn’t they? Colorado’s definition of “independent contractor” is FAR more restrictive than the federal, so if you live in Colorado, the chances are even better that you’re being paid illegally.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Yep, Kimberlee is correct. You can’t legally waive this right. You can choose not to take any legal action about it, but it’s not legal, even if you volunteer to do it this way.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Oh wait, I might be reading this wrong. If you were treated like a contractor in every other way except having a set schedule, but you are the one who set that schedule yourself (it wasn’t imposed on them), then this would be fine. I’m not sure if that’s what you mean or not though. (I originally read it to mean that you were not treated like a contractor in other ways too, but you agreed to it.)

          1. ChristineH*

            I honestly can’t remember now (this was in 2010)….I think my supervisor and I just mutually came up with a schedule. I was helping with their conference, hence why it was set up the way it was; I worked 6 hrs a day, 4 days a week, but I do remember one period where they bumped me up to 5 days (same hours) due to increased work as the conference drew near.

            I’d say everything else was treated as a contract job; straight pay (no taxes) and no benefits. This was all directly through the organization – there was no third-party temp agency involved.

            I’m not looking to take any legal action – quite the opposite! I feel that I was treated well and want to be sure that I didn’t unknowingly allow something illegal to occur. Good to know all was probably legit :)

          2. ChristineH*

            Also to clarify – this gig came about because I had been volunteering with the organization during the prior year; they knew me and my skills well enough and decided to bring me on. In fact, I know at least one colleague who had been pushing to bring me onboard for a long time.

            I worked them again later that year, but that was a bit more loosey-goosey, but with the same arrangements with regard to pay.

  8. Anonymous*

    Your employer can’t pay you as a contractor while treating you like an employee.

    I had this, at least . Years ago I was an admin for a tiny marketing company and the guy had me working as a 1099. I was the owner’s assistant, had a set schedule and everything. It was probably the worst job I ever had. The guy was cheap and his business fell apart shortly after I left. A big client (a very, very well known pharmaceutical company) dropped all outside marketing vendors and he had to lay off 95% of his staff.

    Paying your own taxes sucked when you were being paid $10 an hour.

    1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      How many years ago? I *think* you can file with the Department of Labor to be reclassified up to 3 years later (I can’t find a source on this for my life, but I read it at some point).

  9. Joey*

    Lets get some things straight:

    1. Contractor = You are paid for an end product, not by the hour and not a salary.

    2. Temp or employee= you’re paid hourly or salaried. Just because you work for a company that has a contract with another company doesn’t make you a contractor.

    Lets not confuse the two.

    1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      But some contractors are paid hourly… we have a research contractor, for instance, who is paid on an hourly basis but can work whenever/wherever, without supervision, on his own terms. He is a legal 1099 contractor, but he is not paid for an end product.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Yeah, I charge a lot of clients an hourly rate. But the key is that they don’t control my hours, location, or how I do my job. (Although that last one is a sticky piece of the definition — after all, many/most contractors do get feedback on their work / requests to do things differently / etc.)

      2. Jamie*

        Yes. I have contractors for whom I’ve paid an hourly rate. They are still independent contractors.

    2. Blinx*

      I worked one place for 4 years (same position/duties), and was re-classified twice! First I was a 1099 contractor, then we call became non-exempt employees on a W2 (received no benefits, but they paid taxes). And lastly, we all became employees of a staffing agency. THEN we were eligible fore the agency’s benefits and even some vacation time. It was a lot of fun for my next employer to do a background check!

    3. Joey*

      Of course there are cases where contractors are paid hourly, but generally they’re paid by the job. Maybe I should have just directed that comment to all of the temps that confuse themselves by calling themselves contractors.

    4. Laura L*

      Are all (or most of) those people in DC who work for government contractors actually just employees of the contracting firms they work for?

      Everyone here tells me they’re a contractor, but then says that they work for a contracting firm. It’s kind of confusing.

        1. Lisa J*

          See, this is what has me confused about my current position. I work for a company that is contracted by a government agency. So, right now when people ask where do I work, I say I work AT Big Federal Agency (which is easier than getting into, well I work for this contracting firm but they’re contracted by Big Federal Agency). I know I’m a contractor, but would I be misrepresenting myself if I say I work for Big Federal Agency, since they’re the ones who foot the bill anyway? Even though the name of the contracting firm is the name on my paycheck… Idk, I just want to know am I getting paid for these two days we were off because of Sandy.

          1. Laura L*

            It sounds like you, yourself, are not a contractor, but an employee of a contracting firm. So, you should probably say you work at [name of contracting company].

          2. Ask a Manager* Post author

            I have a friend who works for Lockheed Martin and is based at the Pentagon. I think she says something like, “I work at the Pentagon for Lockheed” or “I work for Lockheed at the Pentagon.”

  10. Drew*

    My partner is currently working for an employer who pays sporadically, does not pay payroll taxes, and bounces paychecks (that is, if he doesn’t pay in cash). What kills me is that even though this is CLEARLY illegal, not a single employee is willing to make a call to the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. My partner hasn’t been paid for work done in August, yet he and his co-workers act like nothing is wrong.

    Of course, I can’t fight his battles for him, but does anyone have any advice for convincing him to report the employer?

    1. fposte*

      How about convincing him to look for another job and then report the employer? This doesn’t sound like a situation where DOL intervention will result in his having the same job but with reliable pay, and that may be why he’s not complaining–he’d rather have the job with the illegalities than another job.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Sure, but if your partner won’t do it himself anonymously because he’s worried that the company being shut down will be a financial problem for him, I’d imagine that you’d want his okay before proceeding. It really should be his call, not yours.

    2. Mike C.*

      First of all, document EVERYTHING. Dates, times, check numbers, hours actually worked and so on.

      Most (if not all) state labor boards will allow anonymous reporting for such things. Also, the IRS would *love* to about employers that are avoiding payroll taxes.

      Look, what kills me here (and you too I imagine) is that your partner has the ability to make this stop and there’s no action. Look, I understand people “don’t like to get involved” and are “wary of using the legal process” but for goodness sake the only reason why this sort of thing is allowed to go on is because no one is willing to report.

      Look, if you hear someone screaming about being attacked, you call the police. No questions, no pro/con charts, you just do it and hope that it was just a tv turned up too loud.

      Look, at my first after-college job, I reported my boss for faking her time sheet. I documented when she was in, it was compared to the time sheet and she was fired. No one else was willing to act because they were a bunch of cowards but had I not all of her work would have continued to fall onto the rest of us and she would have continued to drain our already small budget.

      Your partner has a moral responsibility to act, and the longer he waits, the more he shows that he supports this situation. I cannot speak any more strongly without violating the norms established by AaM so please take this seriously.

      1. fposte*

        But I also think it makes sense to be realistic in your expectations. This isn’t a toggle that needs to be flipped and that will leave the rest of the job unchanged–this is clearly a hugely dysfunctional workplace that can’t manage the most basic of tasks. Even without issues of personal retaliation (and I’m glad you and Alison pointed out that reports could be made anonymously, which is an excellent point), it’s likely to at the very least disrupt the business and possibly close it down. Which I don’t have any problem with from a DOL standpoint, but if I were an employee without another job lined up, I might not want to risk cutting my own rope without having a net in place.

        And I don’t know that I agree on the moral obligation to report this. I think the person to whom it’s happening needs to know about the options, but I don’t think being a victim of a practice always gives you a moral imperative to take an action without regard to its effect on you.

          1. Mike C.*

            Ugh, sorry, I replied way too fast and didn’t give your post proper consideration. I’m sorry about that.

            Look, it might be the case that the business is just hanging by the slimmest of threads and only pays for heat from the money saved by not paying payroll taxes.

            But for most businesses, they aren’t operating on these slim of margins. They are either making money for the owner(s) or they are losing money. So either the owner is pocketing the difference or is going to close up shop anyway. Regardless of the situation it’s in the best interest of the employee to say something.

            And as far as the moral situation is concerned – there is a moral responsibility to put a stop to harm if you know harm is going to come to others. Businesses who don’t pay their workers hurt *everyone who works* by distorting the labor market and depriving tax funds that must otherwise be raised elsewhere (or have funding cut!). And if no one puts their foot down now, how many others will follow this particular owner down the path?

            So this boss is harming you, me, AaM, and everyone reading this thread who lives in the United States. How can there not be a moral obligation to report?

            1. fposte*

              Well, I’d say harm is comparative and subjective (some people would feel the same way about businesses using illegal workers, for instance), and that one’s life never has only one moral obligation and that they’re often competing. Therefore I think it’s fair and moral for somebody to use his/her own conscience in deciding what action is right based on their and the workplace’s particular situation. Not every wrong obliges someone to make personal sacrifices to right.

              It sucks that these things often occur in businesses such as restaurants and retail where the workers have the least amount of power, where a bad economy tends to hit really hard, and where people don’t have much to fall back on if the hours suddenly dry up.

          2. fposte*

            Right; I acknowledged that. But there are bad things other than retaliation. There are the business going to hell in a handbasket, crazy managers getting crazier, and workplaces getting shut down without warning. This isn’t a workplace that was filing the salmon form instead of the goldenrod or even a single manager filing a fraudulent timesheet, this is a base-level failure of the place to operate, and I would make a report realizing that it might lead to the business shutting down.

            Which it should do if it can’t pay its workers properly–I’m not saying “Oh, no, don’t report it, they’ll do something!” But I think it’s fair for employees to insulate themselves from the hit of the “something” so they’re not just turning up for work to find it closed and then having to figure out how to pay for their kids’ food that week.

    3. AG*

      The one suggestion I have is what my fiancé did in this situation (while looking for a new job): as soon as his paycheck was handed to him, he went to the issuing bank and got cash and then deposited the cash in his own bank account.

    4. Drew*

      Thank you all for your input. After forcing a discussion, all of the things discussed here turned out to be what he was taking into consideration. Although he is fortunate enough to have a cushion if the place was shut down (and the more I learn, the more I believe it would be), he knows his coworkers don’t have that luxury. I really hate it that this employer has this kind of control, but it seems like not reporting it at this time is the lesser of two evils.

      Fortunately my partner just lined up an interview at another place. If he gets that, he will file a wage claim for everything unpaid and wash his hands of it. Honestly, a few months ago I never would have believed anyone who told me that there were employers so greedy and immoral. Consider my eyes opened, I guess.

  11. Your Mileage May Vary*

    Regarding #1, a major superstore in the US* apparently has a policy that if you come up short in your cash drawer at the end of your shift, it will come out of your pay. Oddly, they don’t give you bonuses if you come out over in your drawer.

    This may not be the official national policy but the three stores closest to me do it.

    *It would not shock me to find out they are doing this illegally since they seemed to be sued a lot by their employees.

    1. Joey*

      Ive never understand the logic behind Managers doing this. It would be like docking you pay everytime you made a mistake. Some people would quickly owe their employer for working.

      Although I will say most employees and the immediate supervisors probably don’t know any better. That’s probably what they were taught and they’ve never questioned it.

      1. Suzanne*

        Well, Joey, I’m beginning to think that people owing their employers for the joy of working is really where we are going!

        What I’ve witnessed is that most businesses are run these days in utter chaos with a heavy dose of “You should be thrilled to have a job, so shut up” thrown in. Sorry to be so cynical, but I haven’t rubbed noses with a well-run employer in at least 5 years.

    2. Lisa J*

      Or it could be the managers stealing… I knew of a manager at one of the companies I work for who would routinely steal out of the drawer, then complain that the drawer was coming up short and make the the other closing employee make up the difference.

  12. Kat M*

    Just a question:

    When I worked in day care, we were required to get things done off the clock: lesson plans, classroom newsletters, training, things like that. When someone mentioned to the director that our handbook said we were forbidden from working off the clock so she wouldn’t be taking work home, she was told “Oh, that only applies to working directly with the children.” She later backpedaled and said these things should be done during the workday, but they wouldn’t allocate time for it. She said they just needed to get done, and if you didn’t you’d lose your job. Since nobody could get it all done during the day while paying sufficient attention to the children, everybody kept taking work home to finish it. Everyone there was an hourly employee. This seems to be the rule in the field, rather than the exception. Thoughts?

    1. Joey*

      File a wage claim. It s highly likely it should have been paid. I’ve dealt with these types of claims and its amazing how quickly a half hour here and there adds up, especially when there’s some OT. Again though, most people assume this stuff is intentional, but in my experience its usually a manager that doesn’t know any better. Of course that doesn’t make it okay.

        1. Josh S*

          Does that change if the employees are working under a labor contract?

          My wife is a teacher. Like many MANY teachers, the expectation is that grading, lesson planning, prep work, etc etc etc happens off the clock during the evenings. Even though it’s not specifically spelled out in the contract (which I have actually read), I understand that part of the negotiated salary is due to the fact that all these hours of work happen off the clock.

          What’s the scoop here?

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            If she’s exempt, it would be moot since you’re not paid for time worked. But if she’s non-exempt, you can’t waive your rights in this area, even voluntarily. However, government employees are sometimes exempt from certain labor laws, so if she’s a public school teacher, it’s possible that’s the case.

            1. Josh S*

              Ah, that’d be the thing then. I’m pretty certain that teachers are classified as exempt. I wasn’t even thinking about the exempt/non-exempt thing. Thanks.

      1. Mike C.*

        So how is it that a manager doesn’t know any better? Are they under the illusion that the only time charged is time in the workplace, but that they can make them do whatever amount of work outside for free since “they’re not at work”?

        I get that daycare folks are kind of like teachers, so do they just think of it as “homework”?

        Because trust me, I’m one of those thinking that it’s intentional.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          There’s a ton of ignorance out there on every subject; labor law is no different. Lack of knowledge is everywhere. You might be thinking, “But it’s their field — they’re supposed to know it.” But a lot of managers, especially at smaller businesses, don’t think of their primary job as being “to manage people”; they think of it as whatever it is that they spend most of their time doing.

          1. Ariancita*

            I agree, but I can see Mike C’s point. Yes, there’s a lot of ignorance, especially around what is legal vs illegal and for the more obscure and complicated issues. But when it comes to working for free, it would seem that ignorance would actually favor the correct response here. Who thinks it’s actually ok and legal to have someone work for free? If these employers were hourly workers, their gut instinct would be it’s not ok to work for free. Most people don’t think it’s legal to work for free. Where they end up wrong is when it’s actually legal (exempt), but not the other way around.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              A lot of people don’t even know there’s such a thing as exempt and non-exempt. They’ve seen professions where it’s normal and common to work extra hours without additional compensation, and they assume that’s okay in their circumstances too.

          2. Lily*

            I can think of a couple reasons it might not be intentional:

            If the manager was promoted from the ranks, then she is just enforcing the same rules she experienced without knowing any better.

            She may have asked HR and HR gave her the wrong info. New managers have a tendency to trust that HR knows what they are talking about but HR people are no better than anyone else. They can be just as incompetent.

          3. The IT Manager*

            At larger places, I think the opposite may happen. Managers manage people, projects, and their mission, but its not their job to know the HR stuff.

            And also someone who’s always been exempt may need to do a better job of understanding the rules about non-exempt. But when you’re a new manager you have enough on your plate with getting your people to do their job that who has time to worry about that HR stuff.

  13. jesicka309*

    If only I could go back in time….
    One job I worked at when I was at university (p/t) used to seriously struggle to pay me on time. The way I had to submit my payslips was ridiculous as well: I had to get my manager to sign in, then send it via internal mail to another city, get the department headto sign it, then she would send it to payroll in another town. I’d have to send my timesheets on the Monday to get paid by the NEXT Thursday, before I’d even worked any of the shifts I was claiming. Not to mention after my first week, I had to stay back an hour due to the amount of work I had, tried to claim I’d worked 5 hours instead of the 4 we had agreed on, and didn’t get paid, as my timesheet was incorrect and there wan’t enough room in the budget for me to work over…even though I was frequently asked to stay back, run errands after my shift had finished, and because some of my work was driving a promo car, traffic often meant I was an hour late back to the office! Ugh. I’m in a different country, but I suspect there’s similar laws in Australia. I have no way to document 8 months worth of lost pay now though.
    The final straw was when I didn’t get paid for four weeks because my timesheet was ‘lost in the mail’ and my manager had to give me 200 out of her own purse so I could eat!
    And even after I quit it took 3 weeks for my final pay to come through, and several unhappy emails and phonecalls.
    I was glad to be out of there, but yeesh. They were stressful 8 months, even though I got great experience. I wish I’d had someone to help 19 year old me stand up for myself and get legal help about the money!

    1. Anonymous*

      Are you in Australia at the moment?
      if so you can sign up to the SDA witch is shop, distributive& allied employee’s association.

  14. Casey*

    Wow, I see at least two or three things my company violates. They give us comp time instead of overtime and they tell us not to discuss wages. They would probably tell us not to discuss conditions too.

    1. Julie*

      We’re not supposed to discuss wages either – you can be fired for doing it. I’m glad I saw this thread because every time I asked for time off based on my working late (I’m exempt, so it’s not really “official”), I always took 1 hour for 1 hour worked. It never occurred to me that logically I should ask for 1.5 hours for 1 hour worked. I know it’s moot since I’m exempt, but it’s good to at least know what I should have in mind when thinking about the value of my time.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Keep in mind that this doesn’t really apply because you’re exempt — I wouldn’t ask for 1.5 hours in comp time, or even think about your time that way, because that’s really just a non-exempt thing.

  15. Anonymous*

    Regarding #8, my spouse works for a very large worldwide logistics company. They employ drivers and one set of them are “regular” employees and are paid OT, full benefits, 401k, etc. The other part of their business is operated by contractors who employ their own drivers to drive these routes. the drivers are paid by the contractor company, they get a flat pay amount per week, no benefits, no time off, sometimes no breaks or lunches yet they have the exact same duties/responsibilities as the regular employees. They are required to come in at the same time, wear the same uniform, have the same certifications, go through the same training, perform the same job and everything without the benefits. Can the company do this? or am I just confused? He’s been working there for 2 years.

    1. Rana*

      These people aren’t contractors in the sense of them being free agents who contract directly with the logistics company. They are employees of the contractor company, which, I imagine, can set whatever terms of employment it wishes, including having its employees meet the standards of its client while working.

      It’s a little skeevy, yes, but I doubt it’s illegal.

    2. The IT Manager*

      I was going to say the same thing as Rana.

      Your husband might be called a contractor, but he’s not in terms of the IRS a 1099 contractor. He’s employed by by his company and gets a W-2. I’m pretty sure that’s what the govt cares about really – is a company trying to get away with avoiding payroll taxes by putting on the employee to do it himself.

  16. Kathy*

    I was officially hired full-time by my employer backin July 2010 and handed an Employee Handbook and Benefits as stated therein “Funerals: If there is a death in the employee’s immediate family (spouse/child/parent/brother/sister/grandparent/grandchildren) a full-time employee will be granted up to three days absence with pay, provided the days of absence are days which the employee’s department worked.”

    However, on the first page of the handbook under “Employment At-Will” is states that the Employer reserves the right to modify, revoke, suspend, terminate, or change any or all policies or procedures contained herein in whole or in part at any time without prior notice.

    My mom died very suddenly and since I knew of this policy – I did not check with HR prior to my leaving that day to go back home for the funeral and to be with family. However, upon my return and receipt of my paycheck for that week, I was NOT paid and when I inquired about it – was told that their policy was changed months ago and that I would not be paid.

    Can employers legally do this? I mean come on, a parent’s death is traumatic and after worrying about things regarding their death is a struggle – now compounded with worrying about how you are going to pay your bills without getting paid for those three days.

    I am still awaiting their answer as to how they are going to handle this. I am NOT holding my breath.

  17. bob*

    when you work for an indian casino you have no rights under the state laws.and most of the time they ignore federal laws also.their is so much discrimination against non indians that if you say any thing you get fired.the state can’t help you and the fed’s don’t want to hear it. their is so much i could tell you that if they ever found out about this i would lose my job.

  18. Kelly*

    Being told that you can’t discuss pay is very common in retail. We had our “annual” reviews in late July and based upon other retail jobs and corporate’s attitude towards the employees, I wasn’t expecting much. Some of us were discussing them and some of the BS reasons why we didn’t get a larger raise. One of the ones on mine was I wasn’t enough of a team player, which translation meant that I had less patience for my lazy idiot co-workers and the fact that I had to do more of the actual work while they stood around and chatted with the managers and customers. Of course, the fact that I picked up shifts for people when they had “emergencies” (in quotes because some were real but some were failures of time management and scheduling on their part) and didn’t complain when I got shifted into other areas that I really don’t like working in. One person quit when she got less of a raise then expected and I also think that one irritating person also was a deciding factor, too. Also, our mutual supervisor was on track to having a nervous breakdown in August and a couple of us were taking bets on how stressed and irritable she would be by November 1. Due to the combination of understaffing and people being out due to medical conditions, I’m really thinking she’ll be glad when January 1 hits, as will the rest of us.

  19. Paul*

    I make salary non exempt. My boss called me Monday morning and said no work that day come in Tuesday when the barges get there. He’s gonna have us work Saturday most likely. Does he have to pay me for Monday even though he called and said don’t come in that day. I work in Memphis Tn.

  20. anton byrin*

    If I have to pass by a lobby full of customers, but i have a sweater covering my uniform can my manager ban me from using my ipod or talking on the phone while im off the clock on lunch.

    1. April*

      I have the same question. I have almost 2 hours this week my manager clocked me out for lunches that I was not able to take. I live in Oklahoma. Can they legally do that?

  21. Tonya*

    My husband has been working for 6yrs in Dec. With unamed employer. He has asked his supervisor for the books he needs to move up and get a pay raise. The first year she ignored his requests. The second year she tells him to get it from his coworker when he finishes with them. His coworker was hired within the past 4-6months and did not ask for the books. My husband has gone to his union rep and so far is following the chain of command .. Thisvis not the first incident with her, this is now the forth. She is now not processing his mileage sheets on time anymore. I hate to point out that once the white employee transfered out of this crew she no longer picks up mileage sheets and my husband has to run into her or drive it to her to get his mileage pay. My husband works as a pipe tech in the local water company. He would have to drive 30-40 miles to get the sheet to her when he gets off so that he would not get in any trouble.

  22. alina*

    My boss accused me of stolen from her wallet 50 pounds just because I was the only one who make a little space in the fridge ( in the office we have 2 fridges ) and her hand bag was there…we have cctv in the office but she said she doesn’t have time to watch who and what did she will take from my salary..she even look into my wallet but it was empty..should I call the police if she take from my salary?

  23. Anna*

    Please need help and advice!!.. Halloween is coming up I work at a fast food place with only 5 employees including me. In wich 2 employees are my sisters. The owner of the restorant is also the Maneger so he is in charge he is indian so is the other 2 employees they don’t celebrate halloween. So he gave me a deal for me not to work but to give him $70 in cash I said ok I am despret kuz I have a 5 yr old daughter I want to take to trick or treat. The next day my sister tells me she works on holloween and the Maneger will give her the day off if she pays him $70 cash also. Is this legal? We also notice he clocks us out early and it’s subway. It is normally slow and last year we closed early do to no costumers last halloween I believe he will get his money and end up closing for the day? I have worked over a year never missed a day and no call ins cam he fire me if I don’t pay him and call in on halloween?

  24. Anna*

    Please need help and advice!!.. Halloween is coming up I work at a fast food place with only 5 employees including me. In wich 2 employees are my sisters. The owner of the restorant is also the Maneger so he is in charge he is indian so is the other 2 employees they don’t celebrate halloween. So he gave me a deal for me not to work but to give him $70 in cash I said ok I am despret kuz I have a 5 yr old daughter I want to take to trick or treat. The next day my sister tells me she works on holloween and the Maneger will give her the day off if she pays him $70 cash also. Is this legal? We also notice he clocks us out early and it’s subway. It is normally slow and last year we closed early do to no costumers last halloween I believe he will get his money and end up closing for the day? I have worked over a year never missed a day and no call ins cam he fire me if I don’t Hey its thihim and call in on halloween?

  25. peach*

    At my job there is a sign my boss put up, saying that there must be a 45 minute break after 5 hours of work. Working in a assisted living facility that houses around 60 + residents with only 3 nurses working each shift (if lucky), it’s rare anyone has a chance to take said break. Is it legal that if the break is not taken, the 45 minutes is taken out of our paycheck?

  26. chris*

    Soon arriving at work there were no spaces left so I parked in a disabled space, was told I had to clock out move my car and loose 16 mins wages is this allowed

  27. paul*

    I work in California as a mechanic and my employer forces me to take my 30 min lunch break between 1 and 2 hours after the start of my shift and doesn’t allow any other breaks throughout the day. I work 8 hour shifts every day I am scheduled. On a daily basis we are denied 10 min breaks anytime we ask and the excuse is that there is Noone to cover for the break. Very often do any of the employees except the favorites of our manager get breaks. is any of this legal?

      1. paul*

        That doesn’t say anything about them sending me before my 4th hour of work though. when I express that’s not right corporate tells me that its legal but I cant find anything stating its legal anywhere in California.

  28. flora hernandez*

    I’m a waiter so I need my breaks to rest. I live in california and my boss sends me on my 10 min break 15 min after I just clocked in I don’t think that’s correct? Please advise.

  29. PR*

    I am a student worked who has not received her check in over a week, they have seriously led me into a financial maelstrom. What can I do ?

  30. Debra*

    I am a non exempt employee in the state of Missouri, can my employer make me take comp time. If yes do I have to take it that same week or can I save it for when I need it?

    1. Mike*

      I’m in Illinois but I believe this is legal. Your employer wants you to use the time off now so when it gets busy you will have to work.

  31. Sean*

    my job keeps sending people home without letting them knew why. A list is being printed out with selected individuals names on it that has to leave for the day. We don’t even get our full 80 hours sometimes and I was hired as a full-time employee. If though I work in a call center they never stated when work slow down your hours will be cut. When the list comes around its mandatory not voluntarily.

  32. Josh*

    Can a manager cut hours because he heard from his girlfriend, that her friend heard a staff speak poorly of him outside of work ? CA

  33. LBCB*

    At the restaurant that my husband works at, the employee bathroom has been broken for a couple of years. The night before his incident, an employee was locked in the bathroom for over 20 minutes, the following night my husband got locked in but needed to get back to tend the customers at his bar. After knocking on the door from the inside for a 1.5 minutes (the owner counted from the surveillance camera the next day), he used his shoulder and some power to bust open the door. Unfortunately, it “broke” the already broken door. The next day the owner demanded that he pay for the door, to which my husband refused but offered to pay for half since it had already been broken for a couple of years. The final day, the owner said to my husband that he owed him $150 and needed to sign this paper that said he broke the door, never mentioning that it had already been broken and didnt even have a handle on it anymore and never mentioning that he was locked inside and no one was around to let him out. He demanded the $150 refusing to give my husband a receipt, the door was still not fixed and threatened that either he pay the $150 or he would get a week off work as suspension. On principal alone, he refused to pay the $150 unless the owner provided a receipt. So he got suspended the week before Christmas…..Please tell me there is some kind of steps we can take for justice?????

  34. osvaldo*

    My indian boss runs a market. And now im hereing that he wants us to sign this form saying we are not allowed a 15 minute brake. Can he do that?

    1. Sean*

      All employers are allowed to not give a break they are paid breaks but if you need one they have to obliged to your needs. Also he has to give you atleast 30 minute lunches in between your 4th and 5th hour if he does not before your 5th hour you do have the right to leave and cannot be held responsible for those consequences so just from my own problems in such also if you work more than 8 hours they have to provide another 30 minute lunch which can be taken anytime

  35. Sean*

    Okay my friend needs to know this her boss has her work on new years eve lave till about 1130 pm to be exact then the next day 7 am I have been through several ca labor board statues and a few do point out that this is illegal but im asking for 100% proof?

    Also on another note you cannot fire someone just cause there has to be an absolute reasoning due to labor board standards this is called and unlawful termination but thats california.. they have to provide reason and yes you have the right to ask why and if they have no idea why go declare unemployment also if you pay iant on the date of seperation they can be legally brought in to california labor and standards which in any job the manager will be held responsible just for your fact unlawful termination is with no explaination why so that is false autonatically

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      No, this is not correct. There’s no law, including in California, that requires that an employee have a “good enough” reason for firing someone. It’s true that you’ll generally be found eligible for unemployment if their reason for firing was poor, but that won’t make the firing itself illegal.

      “Wrongful termination” isn’t an unfair termination. It’s one that violates specific laws, like discrimination laws.

  36. Ashly Smith*

    Hello! My fiance use to work atleast 40 hours a week. He has a snotty boss who thinks he can treat his workers like crap. My fiance stood up to him and since then cut him to one day a week. He also cut him because we dont have a car, he catches the bus and is sometimes late. Just about Everyone is always late. Ive sat at his job several times n seen managers taking smoke brakes and smoking marijuana. His boss is also a drug user and the guy he buys it from gets the most hours. What legal action can we take or websites can we look at on how to handle this?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Hi Ashly, I’m not sure there are legal options here, since it’s legal to cut a worker’s hours. Your fiance’s best bet is probably to look for another job.

  37. wanda woods*

    I work for a hotel i put my two week notice in on my last day i walk out. well my manager call and told me a safe box was missing and since i was the last person to pick the keys up to.the box they think i took the box but they have no proof to that and they took my paycheck wat should i do?

  38. jo*

    I work for a private owner of a bistro. I have been getting the feeling she is starting to go broke cause her lavish lifestyle. There have been times I’ve had to wait 3 to 4 aafter I’m supposed to get my paycheck to actually get it. Sometimes she will leave without paying us which is what she recently did. Guess when she found out we were upset she texted a huge crazy list of things she said we didn’t get done and say we HAVE to go in early and do them off the clock! I don’t know what to do or how I would even report her for this?

  39. Shannon*

    I was hired on to my job as a “temporary-part-time, cashier.” I worked there for a year and a half working full time hours when I was there and because it is a college bookstore I would be “let-off” for a month or so until things started to pick back up when the new semester started. I was fine with working the full time hours, never complained and always showed up when they called. In short, I have been loyal to this company for the year and a half. My mom was recently hired on also and worked there for about a month to 3 months and then was let-off until next semester. When they hired her back next semester, they hired her at $8 an hour and I was still stuck at $7.93 after a year and a half. So that was one of the initial reasons why I put in my two weeks. When I gave my manager the letter of resignation she of course asked why and I told her about my mom being hired on for more money when I have been there so much longer and she looked at me shocked and told me she put in a raise for me months ago and that it was approved. During all this, my manger also had put her two weeks in and was gone a week before I left so I had to deal with the “fill-in” manager that was going to be there only for that week until a new manager was there and they told me that my manager never put the raise in and that if I stayed they would give me the raise, but if I still was going to leave there is nothing that could be done. Now everyone is telling me I should have back pay for whenever my manager put in my raise until now and I have no clue what to do, this being my first real job. I called HR and they told me my manger never put the raise in and I don’t have her here to back me up anymore so I feel like I am getting screwed by everyone. Please I would appreciate any suggestions on what I should do. Should I pursue it and try to get my back pay or should I just leave it alone and get screwed?

    1. Shannon*

      Also everyone at the company has been having problems with their paychecks not being the full amount of what they should be getting and also our checks don’t arrive until Monday when we should receive them on Friday..is that against the law at all?

  40. Mary*

    I was just a average employee when the business decided to break away from their partners and start on their own. My boss was too cheap to hire a book keeper and order me, with no expirience at payroll ever, to do payroll. I made mistakes throughout the year, namely forgetting to deduct lunches from the total. They didn’t check anything from last year until now. She is acting like I was stealing time on purpose. I couldn’t steal a packet of ketchup, let alone from a job I’ve had for over 8 years. All of the mistakes were pretty much the same, the lunches. It was just human error. I’m not the best at math. Now I feel like I’m under some kind of investigation. I spent the entire day yesterday in tears and nauseous. I couldn’t sleep all night and am prettified to live through it again. What can I expect to happen?

  41. bridget*

    a cash drop from the girl whos shift ended before mine began came up missing? we are suppose to seal and drop our cash drops immediately, she states she left it in drawer for her mother the nigh audit to verify she did not tell me about it did not leave a note anything, the boss has not called the police they have not told me an exact amount somewhere between 700-1000. I was told tuesday afternoon that the money needed to show up or i loose my job and i have to move out.. can he legally do this, he has not even told the owner of the property…

  42. Delia lawless*

    Can you tell me if an employer has to pay you for mandatory training!!
    And can he make you sign to say that if you leave before three months he will. Charge you for the training!!
    We never had paid to train, and can loose our hours, if the training is on a working shift

  43. norma*

    I work full time in an assisted living and scheduled 10 days. Recently my jobs been complaining about overtime so they cut one of my scheduled days and gave it to someone else. It is overtime because I do 45 hours that week but its still my scheduled day ive been working for months. My question is can they legally just take me off for that day?

  44. danielle*

    i was offered a deal, stay home friday think about either severance or to come in monday and discuss where and what i want to do in the company with the boss. Meanwhile, while i was out that friday, my entire office was informed during a meeting that i was terminated. They deleted my emails and terminated my work ID but this was all done before anyone even told me i was actually laid off. this as all on the day i was told to stay home. I was told i had an option.

    1. Mike*

      Sorry you were hurt by this employer. I think the employer told the others at lunch not to shame you, but to make them think “you could be next”. I believe you are better off out of their. Your former coworkers are still suffering.

  45. Mollie*

    My workplace is now shut down and my manager owes me at least £90 worth in tips (I was a waitress), I have made many attempts to contact her and she is blatantly ignoring me. Do I have any right to go to police?

  46. Frank Zamora*

    Today at a staff meeting our CEO spoke about some staff abusing being able to call off work.

    And as a result, she is beginning a new procedure that if you call off your shift for whatever reason, you will be told not to return to work 2 days after the day you called off.

    In other words, you’ll be suspended 2 days without pay for calling off the one day….Is that legal???

  47. Thacker*

    I’ve been working a selector job making a set pay rate.Here lately my boss has asked me to go & work on the loading dock,loading semis with products.When I do this,all the other guys working down there make $2.00 an hour more than me & I still make my normal pay rate but,they make me clock in as a loader…Is it legal for them not to pay me the same rate as everyone else working the loading dock???Thanks A lot!!!

    1. Mike*

      Sounds legal to me. My employer cut us down to 20 hrs. a week . Then hired contract workers.

  48. Heather*

    Can my employer take time away from my regular time work so they can avoid paying me overtime?
    Ex: I work 10 4’s in a week we have a meeting coming up and she makes me work 10-7 for three days, but on the day of the meeting I work 10-8 plus a 3 hour meeting.
    Do they still have to pay me overtime? Also, is there away I can deny working 10-7 and work my normal hours?
    Another thing, is it illegal to cut my normal time worked so they don’t have to pay me overtime and not cut anyone else’s?

  49. anonymous*

    I work at a tanning salon, and my boss REQUIRES us to get a spray tan every month, whether you want one or not you don’t have an option. She then takes the price of the spray tan out of our paychecks, which is around 15-20 bucks per spray tan. Even if you don’t get your spray tan that month, she still deducts it from our paycheck. Is this legal? This seems outrageous and extremely unfair, as if she is just looking for an excuse to take money back from us.

  50. kayleigh*

    as paid for a shift I didn’t do and have only just noticed this payment was in November and it is now the end of january. I didnt fill in this timesheet or sign it for this matter. Do I still need to pay it back as they r trying to claw it from my bank account which doesn’t have anything in for them to take.

  51. Anonymous*


  52. Ally*

    I worked for an employer for around 6 months. I never was allowed to take a lunch break cause we were too “busy”, yet they always docked me .5 on my paychecks. I worked from 7 am to 4 pm monday through saturday and never had a break. I also never had a place to stand since they did not provide stools or chairs and i was called a pu$$y by the manager for asking for a chair. It was a very uncomfortable place to work and the male co-workers even blew blow horns in the bathroom door while i was trying to go to the restroom. Do I have a right to sue?

  53. amy*

    My husband works for a company similar to a jiffy lube and his manager makes him clock out for a secound and sometimes thirdlunch of they are slow, he ssometimes is forced to wait around to clock in if its slow too. Can they really do that?

  54. Umer Razi*

    I worked 9:00AM to 12:00 Noon ( 3 hours), THEN AFTER lunch break I started 1:PM to 5:00PM (4 hours) and left home. Am I entitled for the comp time for my 2nd shift?

  55. Chris Findley*

    Is it legal for my girlfriends work (goodwill store) to not let me in during the last half hour that theee open?

  56. verna*

    It it allowed in a workplace for a district manager to cut employees hours everyday to save money after approving schedule. I have never worked at a place that is so micromanaged so they can get bigger bonuses

  57. JennyG*

    I was schedualed on a day to work from 11-8 then my boss called and told me not to come in. Can I say no cause the scheduale was up weeks in advance. Do I have the right to say no and still go in on my regular shift? What I’m trying to understand is do I have the legal right to still go into work on the day I’m scheduled on? Also if they asked me to come in later or leave early can I say no then also? I also live in Illinois Please respond ASAP

    1. Mike*

      They can tell you anything and expect everything from you. I live in Illinois also. My employer can tell me to work 30 minutes a week and hire contract workers to do the job. Its Legal!

  58. Sue*

    I’ve recently being suspended for refunding the incorrect laybye to the incorrect customer and I tried to rectify the mistake by filling in the 200for the refund the problem is I did not notify my area manager and my cashier was short that day for 200 because of the laybye and I balanced him to 0,00. When my area manager had questioned me anout the matter I was so scared that I tried to hide what I did because I broke company procedure. On the day of my suspension the area manager had sent out a broadcast on the managers group that I was suspended which I know is not allowed because I havnt been dismissed yet and if I’m not guilty all those managers will have a bad impression of me. What advice can assist in this situation????

  59. Brooke*

    My employer refuses to let me build up my vacation time, and instead puts in directly into my pay ever two weeks. He says that it makes all the bookwork too confusing and he said he is scared that we will all take the same time off. So he told us that we have to figure out the difference and put it into a separate account ourselves. Problem is, we don’t want to be taxed on it! Is this a right that he has? I think its bullshit personally and just a way to save his ass.

  60. Brooke*

    Also, while we are on the subject. Who would I go to for reporting problems with management. We are many times working 10-12 hour days without breaks because we are so understaffed and they refuse to overlap the shifts. FYI..Dairy Queen.. not a fun place to work..

  61. RN*

    I work for a dr. And over the year the dr was caught by his wife using illegal prescription drugs. I cant afford to quit but cant stand working with him like this. Can unemployment cover . ….. plzzzzz help me

  62. cindy*

    I work for a company on the management team so we salaried employees and we work a lot of time pass our regular 4o hr work week and we are not compensated for that time at all. Now due to a recent snow storm and because no manager showed up for work to personal reasons being unsafe to drive and declared in a state emergency now the company do not want to pay us for that day off and we were approached as do we care about the success of the business because there were some employees who showed up. What about the time we worked over our regular hours and never been compensated for do we have a right to that pay? or would being compensated a separate issue? and can we work only 40 hrs a week and refuse to stay for meetings after our regular schedule due to we are not being compensated for that time?

  63. nicole*

    My employer has been taking hours off my paycheck without me knowing. For example last week I worked 45 hours (five hours over time) and he changed it to 38 instead and I never got paid the 7 that went missing. I know its not legal but I do not know what to do about it

    1. Mike*

      If you punch in and can see the time and date on the card I would make a photo copy or take a picture.

  64. Mmhain*

    I was asked to stay for 12 hours shift after I just finnished my 12 hours work due to management error in changing staff rota. Will I be in trouble for refusing to work?

  65. jon*

    I was wondering can my boss charge me to get a new W2 with my current information.(like new work permit and ssn ).I had recieved my ssn and work permit i march of 2013 I figured I could get it corrected when I did my taxes but my tax lady said I had to inform my employer about my change in this information and get a new W2.and my manager said that I only get one and that was it so I told them what forms my tax lady told me to tell them so my boss calls me and was ok I could but its going to cost a couple hundred bucks so I have to my pay roll guy or book keeper.and then two days later he sends my manager a email which my manager showed me that I was going to get charged $100 to get my DE9 corrected.and I asked if I could pay him now and he was like ill let you know in a week what my pay roll guy say.all the. while I have a uneasy feeling this is wrong.and now my manager is saying they are going to take it out of my paycheck to pay for this mistake.I did not consent to them withholding it out of check.and my tax lady told me to file a complaint if they do with hold money from my check.so is anything I mentioned illigal of my employer

  66. Taylor*

    Okay so say I’m scheduled from 11a-2p then scheduled to go back at 4:30-8:30 and my manager keeps me until 10p that night and when I talk to her about it she says that it isn’t a guaranteed time for me to be off it is just a estimate of when I might get off. Is this legal??

  67. mike*

    I am a independent contractor and work as a real estate agent for a agency in NYC. Is my manager allowed to asked me where I am, If i am working or what I am doing?

    As an independent contractor I thought i get to make my own hours?

  68. Jennifer*

    i worked at holiday inn this year am no longer an employee and they are not sending me my W2 i need it for my taxes. they said i can view it online but they wont give me a password so i cannot see it.

  69. hanna*

    Can my job have cameras synced to their homes to watch us while we work? My boss literally calls every five minutes complaining of things we do because she watches us 24/7?

    1. Mike*

      Have your fellow employees all pitch in and buy her pillow and blanket to sleep on the floor at work.

  70. Anonymous*

    I am 18 years old, I live in Australia.
    I haven’t had work since the start of December last year.
    my employers say there is not enough hours to go around yet I see every one else getting shifts.
    they told they would try and get me a shift a month.
    as far as I know I am the only one without a shift.

  71. Krystle Crampo*

    Is it illegal to get a write up for not having an empoyees number? I was told the night before to call my shift leader in the am. to seeIif I would come in at open (10am) or due to bad weather at 11 am. I woke up the next morning and found out I did not have their number so I contact a coworker to see if they had it. And they did not they called store owners to see what was going on. She texted me saying you work at 11 I said ok. I get to work and everythings cool. I clocked in and then owner comes over and say I need to sign a write up sheet….. it didnt even happen at work!!!!

  72. Ivan*

    I work part time, 6-11:30
    I have half hour drive home. My boss wants me to come back to work for a meeting at 1:30. Meeting usually 30min to an hour, can I say no?

  73. Kem*

    The place I work at , the punch in clock is like 20 minutes fast so if i get to work at 6:10am., its already 630am on the time clock .. I brought this to the attention of the people I work for but they claim it all balances out in the end .. But when I get my checks my hours are short because of those minutes chopped off each day are adding up over the two week period .. the only way it would balance out is if im clocking out at a certain time , i feel .. this cant be right , its cheating people for the little money that is trinkled down on these jobs and plus the amount of work being done !!

  74. natalie*

    Im an assistant manager at family dollar who works full time and has to work 34 hours a week. Im going to be putting in my two weeks soon can my manager cut those hours or not because legally as full time im suppose to work a minimum of 34 hours

  75. NHall*

    I’ve been at the job I have for 8 years this august. I I’ve it but hate it and how they run things. First I have nobody to go to when I have a problem with something or some one, my manager is also the HR person. (I had issues 4 years ago with 2 people and went to my boss/HR and nothing was done so i tried going to the VP of company and that just ended with me leaving the office crying my eyes out. The 2 people ended up having everything I was trying to complain about saved on there computers and the IT person found it while looking for something one day. They got fired and life was great. Now I’m having the issue of rules. We have an dress code in writing and won’t do one bc it will take freedom away from people as they say or have told me but yet in the office I work out of the guys can wear jeans and regular shoes everyday but the girls have to wear high heels, dress pants, skirts, dresses, and blouses Monday-Thursday and can wear nice jeans with blouses on Friday but the jeans have to be approved first… It says in the hand book coming in early to leve early just to get to 40 hours is strictly prohibited but we have one employee who comes in at 8 or 9 in the morning to leave at 3:30 or 4:30 (and doesn’t take a lunch) and isn’t penalized and no one says anything to her about it. Our office hours are 9-5:30 on Monday and 10-5:30 Tuesday-Friday.. This person is out of the corporate office too and no one gets in before 10 ever.. Which takes me to my next point, it’s strictly prohibited for hourly employees to work from home but this same employee is hourly and is working from home early(so she say) then gets in at 10 takes no lunch and leaves early still. I’m in the Nashville office and even though our hours are 10-5:30 Tuesday-Friday I still have to be there by 9 everyday bc the phones turn on at 9 and answer phones for all of our locations. (I also do payroll which is how I know about the hours people work) now since I’m recuired to be there everyday at 9 I felt I should be able to get paid 7.50 hours a day when I take vacation instead of the 6.50 we get but I was told if I can’t be here by 9 they will find some who can. In the employee hand book it says if I have to file a sexual harassment claim against someone it will be done in complete confidentiality but I had to file one and hr and the head business manager (yes hr went to the head business manager with it) had me type a letter to the person explaining he made me feel very uncomfortable and asking him to stop and I had to actually give it to the guy myself and give them a copy of the letter for my file. They said they didn’t want to get the CEO president and Vice President of the company involved if they didn’t have to… We get wellness bounces every year when we have our yearly checkups done and if we have to pay a copay we get the copay back. I have double insurance bc of my husband so I technically don’t pay a copay bc his insurance pays it so u was told I don’t get the 35 back, I agreed bc I don’t pay the copay do to my husbands insurance. My boss/HR has the same exact insurance as me along with the secondary one bc her husband works with my husband.. I had to enter the wellness bonuse for her a few weeks ago along with the copay reimbursement.. I was told her exact words were “they don’t know we don’t actually pay a copay so they won’t know”.. She was the one who said I couldn’t get it for the last 2 years… There’s so much more then just this stuff but I’m at a breaking point and don’t know what to do. I tried talking to CEO/president and vp but after I was told they would meet with me they just brushed me off like whatever I had to say didn’t matter and still haven’t meet with me.. Is any of the stuff they are doing legal.. Can the HR personnel be my manager too..

  76. Roxanne Young*

    My boss stopped paying us mileage but in my case to get to my agreed salary mileage was part of the deal. He didn’t tell us then and continues not to say anything when he does it but says you should have figured it out by now your not getting it. I am looking for a full time job. If I quit can I get back wages

  77. Josh*

    I work 40 hours a week from 3-11 pm each day. I was sent to training and only paid from 12-4 pm on the travel day. Should I be paid my regular 8 hours? This time away for training was drive time to get to the training for the next day. I am currently considered seasonal if that helps. Thanks..

  78. Kathy*

    I saw this referenced in prior statement somewhere but just wanted to re-confirm; I used to work at a restaurant and left the job because they were terrifying; doing drugs, drinking on the job, threatening employees, doing drug deals in the office. I left as soon as I could find something else and just kept my mouth shut the entire time I was there because the people that came in there were so questionable and intimidating. My current employer went to my previous work place (the terrifying one) and asked about me. Apparently my old boss badmouthed me to no end, which I didn’t even ever know he had a problem with me. The man even gave me gifts when I left my job for being such an incredible employee and asked me to come back and work for him on two different occasions over the past few years, which I politely declined. Is there anything illegal about this? Someone told me that it was, but I just read on your site that it isn’t? I just was astounded that after giving me gifts, asking me to come back, telling me how great I was, my old boss would say that most terrible things about me. I was never ever reprimanded my entire time that I worked there. If anything they constantly complemented me and praised my work ethic. Is there anything I can do about my current job bringing this up? From what I understand my current employer and my past employer had a very detailed conversation. It was the strangest and most hurtful thing that has ever happened to me and I have no idea how to handle it. I feel as though my current employer is just trying to use it against me for something and I have no idea what for.

  79. Pat*

    I work as a salaried manager for a national restaurant chain in TN. About 5 months ago our new regional vice president decided to make a rule that if you miss your labor target (or overspend based on our weekly budget) then all salaried managers must come in the next week and work an hourly position for 8 to 10 hours off the clock in a non administrative role. Is this legal? Are we all not entitled to OT? we all already work 60 hours a week as is and then to come in to work these extra hours it’s just working some of us sick. We’re all terrified to speak up because we all know what inevitably will happen is we’ll be termed out for any other various unrelated issues so it doesn’t appear to be retaliation. The other thing is this isn’t a rule for the other 600+ stores in the company. Just our region. What are my options aside from looking for another job.?

  80. Alisa*

    I live in TN. Guess simple way to explain can my employer send me to there doctor to get a drug test or to get evaluated off the clock involuntary without pay? When I should an would rather be working for false agusations on sleeping on the job?

  81. Jason*

    I received a text from my old employer tonight that read: “I’ll go ahead and report my shirts stolen.” I was fired without cause three weeks ago and said I would return my uniform, once I received my first unemployment check. I received it last week and was planning on returning the shirts tomorrow as promised. My old boss went on to text me: “I asked you nicely to return the stolen property.  I will have the police contact you with a warrant. 
    Thank you .” After I said, “I asked you nicely to stop harassing me. I will have my attorneys contact you with a demand letter. Thank you.” So am I breaking the law if I don’t return the uniform. Seems like an empty threat to me, not to mention he would be filing a false police report, which I think is illegal.

  82. Julie*

    Our job works on the point system.

    I got a verbal warning when I reached 5 points, once you reach 8 you get fired.

    I recently suffered a miscarriage and coulnd’t focus at work and left, knowing I was gogint to get another poitn that would put me at 6.

    When they wrote me up the second time it was a final write-up and said i has 7 points.

    Come to find out after my manager spoke with local HR that my points weren’t counted correctly the first time and they just caught it.

    How can they still make me sign a final when i had no idea I had that any points and I wouldn’t have left knowing I would be this close to getting fired?

  83. Bekka*

    Is it illegal for an employer to not give you at least (1) 10 minute break if you work at 6.5-8 hour shift?

  84. anon*

    I work in a job where I sometimes get overtime pay and sometimes they have us work unpaid hours. I am a salaried employee. Is it legal for them to have us work the unpaid extra hours? This week alone it was over 20 hours of extra time with no extra pay.

  85. Eudora Beckley*

    My job required me to get certified as a phlebotomist on the day of the test i went to work at 830 am left at 1120 and came back at 130pm during this time i took my lunch break too so when i looked at my check stub they took away 2 hrs of pay is this right

  86. Tamara*

    Hello, my name is Tamara and I have found myself in a sticky situation. I lived with a shift manager from my company but I was late to work so the assistant store manager called my shift manager/ landlord to cover my shift. When I was going to call my Assistant manager to tell her that I was going to come into work late and explain the reason for my tardiness the shift manager that I payed rent to told me “Do not pick up that phone to call Jen” (Jen is the assistant manager) “unless it’s to quit.” Her reasoning for this to me in her exact words were “I gave you a job and a home and you shit all over it.” I did call my assistant manager and informed her that I had to quit. I feel that at the time I was under duress because she was not only my shift manager but my landlord so I was afraid of losing my home if I didn’t agree to quit. I was unsure of how to properly handle this because this was my first job. She is not the Store manager however. My question I guess is does this count as being fired and is it legal?

  87. Kate*

    I worked a 24 hour shift from February 18, 2014 to February 19, 2014 at 10/hr. It is now April 9, 2014 and I have not been paid…and on top of it I’ve been put on bed rest and am unable to work. I’m struggling and it may not seem like much but $200+ would help a lot right now…I need to know what can I do about this????

  88. dboyd*

    My husbands employer does not offer direct deposit and pays him every other Tuesday. They only allow the workers to pick up there checks between 2pm and 5pm. He works a second job and is always at work on that tues until 7pm. I sometimes find it hard to get there and feel this must be illegal to tell an employee they have to come during certain hours. He always has to go by there after work on that day to get his next schedule anyway and I don’t see why he isn’t allowed to pick up his check then? I would like to know his rights!

  89. bethlin burchinal*

    is it illegal in oklahoma for my boss to tell me i cant leave when my son needs medical treatment and theres no one else to take him?

  90. Anon523*

    I was hired to work the night shift and my boss kept scheduling me to open. I confronted her about this and she said she was short morning people so she needed me. She promised me that when so-and-so came back I would be able to work nights again. Well so-and-so came back and she still scheduled me mornings, so I confronted her about it, and she said I was a “flex” hire and she can schedule me whenever she wants to. I looked at my file and it says I’m only available from 1:30-9. She lied to me about the hours I would be working. So I put in my two weeks notice.

  91. Katie*

    Hello! I was working through the carrer link in my area (PA) through a youth paid work experience program. In the beginning they told me the program was 280 hours and told my mother and my fiancé the same thing. Now they are telling me it was only 240. 208 in work and 32 coming to 3 hr workshops (and they don’t even seem to realize 3 doesn’t go into 32 evenly, lol). They also gave me no copies of anything I signed so I have no proof of anything. They just made me copies of my time sheets and one time sheet I doesn’t even have my signature on it, one signature is not mine you can tell it has been forged, and multiple have white out over my times and someone elses hand writing over it. The leader of this program was very unprofessional and was quite rude and nosey in our personal lives. Recently they told me they overpaid me on the last paycheck they sent me and that I have to repay it. They didn’t even pay me my last pay they kept it to “offset some of the overpayment”. Do I have any rights not to repay them since it is illegal for my signature to be forged and for one not to even be signed by me? I have very little income and no job at the moment and they are being so very rude and not helping when this program is meant to help youth.

  92. haley*

    I was hired at a store and they were in the process of opening so ihad to help set it up but after 3 days of hard labor of unloading a truck and setting things up they let me go because theyve pursued other people to work when they open because they can only keep five people. I feel like i was screwed over and i dont know if this is legal or not?

  93. cynthia*

    I was fired for working off the clock, and not requesting a time adjustment form. I was previously ‘coached’ on this matter. However, an ASM had fixed my time adjustment in the system for this day (had clocked out at end of shift when asm told me to take baskets of cardboard to recycler, it’s one of the tasks at end of shift). About 2 months after this incident I was given my exit interview. I had been with company for 6 years, so filed for unemployment, but was denied. I am appealing this. My question is: Is there a way to prove the time adjustment was made for this?

  94. Derek*

    Howabout being called in on your day off and getting fired. Then taking money for uniforms off of your last check that were normal wear abd tear which they believe was not normal?

  95. Danielle*

    My hiring manager, 3 weeks into training pulled me into his office and asked me out. I was shocked and politely refused. Since then the leads I’m getting have been bs and I’ve been trying to just tell myself it’s coincidental. Then after it came out to the VP of the company I received a lead that was his name the morning after. What are the legal implications if any of my hiring manager asking me out in training. Keep in mind he’s old enough to be my father.

  96. Jessica*

    My husband works for a temp agency in Houston. He has been assigned to a company as a temp. The manager send his time cards to the agency and my husband gets paid. He didn’t get paid last week because the manager lost the time cards. The agency says that they can’t do anything unless the get the time cards. So basically my husband is not getting paid. What are his rights?

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