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Forced to work off hours no pay Massachusetts

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  • Forced to work off hours no pay Massachusetts

    I work as a tech fixing equipment. My work week in writing is Mon-Fri 9-5:30 with a 1/2hr lunch break.

    This is a job that requires travel from call to call. I have to be at my first call at 9am regardless of where it is. The nature of the business the that if I can't get to another call before the day ends, so be it. I go home. I still get paid 8 hours.

    My employer has stated in writing that we have to pick up parts before work begins. This can take anywhere from 5 min to an hour. In addition, we are required to summarize our weekly calls at home after work on Fridays and email our supervisor. This can take 1/2hr or longer.

    I am not a salaried employee although they did state a specific weekly pay for the hours listed above. I am not sure exactly what I am classified as, hourly salary? All I know is they don't pay me if I don't go to work.

    My questions are:

    1) What type of employee am I?
    2) Is it legal to require me to work off the scheduled hours for no additional pay?

  • #2
    Hourly and salary are merely pay methods.

    What matters is your classification under FLSA. You are either exempt or non-exempt. The difference is that non-exempt workers qualify for overtime when it's worked. The determination is based on your "primary" job duties. Your job title is not important. Here is a link that explains more:

    Finding out your FLSA classification is important before we can answer your second question.


    • #3
      It's likely that, based on what you said you do and the fact that you aren't paid if you don't work, you would not meet the criteria for exempt status. Accordingly, although your commute from your home to your first job site, and reverse, is not compensable, if you are required to come into the office before your first call, the drive time from the office to the call IS compensable. As is the time you spend at home doing paperwork, emailing your supervisor, etc. Looks like it's time to contact the Attorney General's office (which serves as the Dept. of Labor in your state) to file a claim for unpaid wages.
      I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


      • #4
        I would assume I am not exempt either.

        My main problem is that if I end a call at 5:00 and can't get to another nor complete another before the work ends I go home. Their contention is that because I can't reach another call, they can tell me to work any other time they choose to make up for that 1/2 hr.

        Still, I have worked past 5:30 on more than a few occasions just to finish something up and I don't get to take time off to make up for it the next day.

        The way I see it, they balance out. What I have a major problem with is working from home or coming in to work early because they seem to think I owe them something.


        • #5
          Their contention is that because I can't reach another call, they can tell me to work any other time they choose to make up for that 1/2 hr.
          They can. However, that doesn't mean they don't have to pay overtime if you actually work over 40 hours in a workweek. Does this "make up time" span more than one workweek? That's also known as compensatory time, and it is not allowed for private employers (public employers, such as a municipality, may).
          I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


          • #6
            I guess it depends on the week. The email summary is every week. Picking up parts is not. Both regardless of whether I work 40 hours exact, more hours or less. And they are a private employer. I've never gotten overtime.

            They also don't have a system for properly tracking our time worked. When we were all hired it was 9-5:30 for this pay and you go home if you can't get to another call before 5:30 with pay. That is "the nature of the business" as they call it.

            They can track a first and last call, but if we have a meeting in the AM, it isn't tracked. If we are called in the office at the end of the day, it isn't tracked. If we get somewhere at the beginning or end of the day and nobody is there, it doesn't get tracked. It looks the same as if we showed up late or left early.

            It sounds like if I refuse, they can reduce my pay for the week but they have to properly track it first. And start paying overtime when I work longer hours.

            And just out of curiousity, what is to stop them from telling me to make up time at midnight on a Saturday night? Might sound like a silly question but I have another job I have to worry about on top of this one.

            Thanks BTW


            • #7
              I would think, if you are hourly, not salary, and you are mandated to be at a meeting, that should be included in your hours. Not sure of the rest.


              • #8
                As a private employer, the company CANNOT substitute comp time for overtime pay. Period.

                Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the employer MUST keep certain records for employees, including hours worked for nonexempt employees.
                If you were to file a claim for unpaid wages, you would most likely win, since the employer is not tracking your time and cannot prove you didn't work the hours you would claim. BTW, mandatory meetings ARE compensable work hours.

                And lastly, nothing, I guess. It would be petty as heck, though.
                I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


                • #9
                  The way I figured it working late sometimes makes up for getting off early other times and certain meetings here and there before work. I wasn't looking for a lawsuit.

                  I just didn't want ot be forced to perform work that could be done between 9-5:30 just because they want to maximize calls. It interferes with my other job.

                  And I was afraid if I said no, they could fire me.


                  • #10
                    A couple of thoughts:

                    1. Patty's right on. They must pay you for your work time, whether or not they track it. The MA recordkeeping requirements are at c.151, sec. 15. Here's a link:


                    2. If you are required to travel to work prior to traveling to a job site, then you must be paid for that time. The DOS addressed these issues in 2002 with an opinion dealing with 3 different travel-time scenarios:


                    3. If you are terminated because you complained of wage violations, that would likely qualify as reatliation. Those are governed by 2 laws:




                    This post is by Philip Gordon, a Massachusetts employment attorney (

                    This post is NOT legal advice. It is for general/educational information purposes only. You should not rely on this post if you are making decisions, and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. This post may be considered "advertising" under the MA professional rules for attorneys.