required meetings without pay

I am a college student and I work as a waitress to pay my bills as I further my education. My employer requires that everyone attend one or two meetings twice a month on a Saturday afternoon when the restaurant is not normally open for business. He refuses to pay us for these one or two hour meetings. When we have clocked in before the meeting began and clocked out afterwards, he has gone in behind us and taken away that time as if it didn't happen. My question is two parts. One, is it legal to threaten to fire, fire, or write a person up for not attending one of these meetings since we are not getting paid for our time? Second, is it legal to go in and alter people's times like that just because they don't feel like paying us for that time?

1 answer  |  asked Apr 30, 2003 10:50 PM [EST]  |  applies to North Carolina

Answers (1)

Reagan Weaver
Unpaid meetings

The easiest way to get a definite answer to the question of whether they can refuse to pay you for meetings that you are required to attend is to call the NC Dept of Labor at 807.2801. This agency administers the NC laws relating to wages. I don't think this is legal, but NCDOL can tell you for sure. Wait staff can be paid differently because of tipping. Because of this, I am not certain whether you are being treated legally.

It is definitely illegal for them to fire you because you make a complaint that they are not paying you according to the law. However, you would be wise to seek counsel before you complain to make sure that if you are fired you have taken steps to protect yourself in advance. Preservation of evidence is crucial to proving that you have been retaliated against.

For the record, Chap 95-241 of the NC General Statutes says that, "No person shall discriminate or take any retaliatory action against an employee because the employee in good faith does or threatens to do any of the following: File a claim or complaint, initiate any inquiry, investigatiion, inspection, proceeding or other action, or testify or provide information to any person with respect to any of the following:" In the list that follows, is NC's wage and hour act.

Good luck to you.

Reagan Weaver

posted by Reagan Weaver  |  May 1, 2003 09:13 AM [EST]

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