Accidental Overtime?

Employees punch time card either early or stay and clock out after quitting time. Neither is time worked nor authorized over-time. Because the time is on the card, are they entitled to overtime pay?

1 answer  |  asked Nov 24, 2008 09:26 AM [EST]  |  applies to Ohio

Answers (1)

Neil Klingshirn
Employees are entitled to overtime for unauthorized overtime

The Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to pay employees for all hours worked, whether authorized or not. As long as the work is done for the employer, the employee is entitled to pay.

This raises two problems. First, what to do about the employee who works unauthorized overtime and second, how to account for time actually worked.

The law allows an employer to have and enforce a rule prohibiting unauthorized overtime. Therefore, an employer can take disciplinary action, up to and including discharge, when an employee works overtime without authorization. The employer must nonetheless pay the employee for the overtime worked.

As for record keeping, the law requires employers to keep records of hours worked. A time clock is probably the best way to do that. Here, however, the problem may be that the time clock is not accurate. In that case, it might be possible for the employer to prove that the time clock was inaccurate, but by doing so the employer proves that it did not keep accurate records. Therefore, as a practical matter, the employer is probably stuck with the record created by the time clock.

As with unauthorized overtime, however, the employer can make and enforce rules requiring accurate time clock punching. If the employer implements such a rule, the employer could discipline and discharge an employee for clocking in early or out late.


Neil Klingshirn.

posted by Neil Klingshirn  |  Nov 24, 2008 09:42 AM [EST]

Answer This Question

Sign In to Answer this Question

Related Questions with Answers

Have an Employment Law question?

Contact Neil Klingshirn

Neil Klingshirn
AV rated Super Lawyer and Employment Law Specialist
Independence, OH
Phone: 216-382-2500