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Working off the clock Alabama Alabama

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  • Working off the clock Alabama Alabama

    I work as a server at a local restaurant. The other day I got to work about 10 minutes early, however, the handbook tells us that we may not clock in more than five minutes early, unless asked to by a manager, and that if we do without permission, our time will be adjusted, and have been asked by the managers not to clock in even a minute early, or they will adjust our time. Once I got there, a fellow employee asked me to take a "to go" order. I mistakenly thought that she was asking me to ring it in, and told her I could not, because I wasn't clocked in and could not clock in yet. Apparently, at some point during this, the guy who wanted to place the order left without making the order because no one would help him. The other employee went to the managers and complained that I had refused to take the order, and lost the customer. I was then called to the office and reprimanded, told that it was my fault that the customer had left, and that I had lost the company that money. I explained that the only reason I hadn't was that I wasn't clocked in yet, and was told that I should have taken the order and given it to someone else to ring in. My job was also threatened because of this. And every bit of this, including when I was reprimanded, occurred before I was scheduled to be there and before I had clocked in.
    Then, that night, I was forced to clock out about 25 minutes before I was allowed to leave. Granted, we were simply waiting on the head servers to check our leaving duties so we could leave, but I had been helping do various duties while I waited, but was allowed to sit down during this time. However, if the head servers found something wrong with those leaving duties, then we would be required to fix them, i.e., sweep or clean or restock various things, and would be required to do these things off the clock.
    Is any of this legal? Because, I feel like they are requiring me to work off the clock, and therefore without pay.

  • #2
    Yes, you can be in trouble for telling a customer you will not help them. How you get paid for that time is a totally different matter. I know as a customer I would leave too if I was waiting around to give my order and the employee who was asked to take it told me they would not. I'm not sure why you would come in and hang around not working until you could clock in.

    You do not have to be paid for time you are not actively working and are on break if that break is over 20 minutes.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.


    • #3
      No, I never talked to the customer. I was in the back of the restaurant. I told the other employee that I couldn't clock in yet (the guy was not near us). I didn't have any interaction with the customer. The other employee was the one who I guess told the customer she couldn't take the customer's order because she was too busy, if anyone even told him anything. I didn't see what happened, because I was in the back of the store, and when I told her I couldn't clock in, she stormed off before I could even ask if I could do anything else, so she would have time to take the order.
      I set my clock back about five minutes to make sure that I'm never late, so I always end up at the store a few minutes before I can clock in. I couldn't clock in yet because we're not allowed to clock in early, and they ask us not to clock in early about every other day. Usually when I get there early I'll do some cleaning or something in the back until I can clock in, but at the time that she approached me, I had just walked over to the computer to check the time clock (which is different from the wall clocks-if I go by those, I'll end up being late).
      Also, I wasn't asking about time spent not working that I wasn't getting paid for, because that's just stupid, I'm not worried about getting paid for something I'm not doing. What I asked was if they can not pay me but require me to work, i.e., make me clock out at night while I still have work that I have to finish before I can leave.


      • #4
        Regardless, you were at work and were asked to perform a work related task. You can be fired or written up for refusing.

        As for the end of the night, if you aren't actually performing any work, they do not have to pay you. Sitting around while others are closing out the place is not working. If you are actually working, then you should not clock out until you complete those duties.
        I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.


        The forum is intended for informational use only and should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for legal advice. The information contained on are opinions and suggestions of members and is not a representation of the opinions of does not warrant or vouch for the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any postings or the qualifications of any person responding. Please consult a legal expert or seek the services of an attorney in your area for more accuracy on your specific situation.