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Being scheduled to work for 6 days (45 hours total), but being cut hours throughout the week (mostly longer lunches) so they don’t have to pay overtime. Legal?

I was scheduled for 6 days this week (45 hours total), but continually cut down hours throughout the week (such as longer lunches) and usually dismissed early on Saturday so I don’t go into overtime, sometimes as early as only working 8-10a. It’s so frustrating to plan to work all 6 days and then be cut at random spots at least 1-2x/month. Also, they suggested that I could clock out before doing my notes, cleaning, restocking, etc so therefore it doesn’t effect my bonus. AKA they won’t have to pay me as much overtime. I’m just wondering if this is legal. thanks.

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1 Answer

Per the Fair Labor Standards Act, you must be paid if you are doing work on behalf of your employer. If an employer does not comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act, “willful violators may be prosecuted criminally and fined up to $10,000. A second conviction may result in imprisonment. Employers who willfully or repeatedly violate the minimum wage or overtime pay requirements are subject to civil money penalties of up to $1,100 per violation.” Not to mention they will have to reimburse you for lost wages.
Whether your employer can make you take long lunches or go home early depends. Some states have regulations to protect employees while other states are “at-will.” It might be best to contact the Department of Labor for your state: http://www.dol.gov/whd/america2.htm

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