Although all employers in the U.S. are required to compensate nonexempt employees for all of their time worked, it can be challenging to determine precisely what activities workers must be compensated for. This is especially true in situations where the employees have responsibilities that must be completed before and after their shift, such as time spent in security lines or travel time.
If you are spending unpaid time completing tasks required by your employer, you could be eligible to recover compensation for unpaid wages, overtime and other damages. At Lore Law Firm, our employment lawyers offer a free and confidential review to determine if you could have a valid claim for unpaid overtime based on the specific facts and circumstances surrounding your particular situation.
Could Your Employer Owe You Money for Time Spent Completing Pre- and Post-Shift Activities?
As a money-saving tactic, some employers will shortchange their workers for the time they spend completing responsibilities necessary to their jobs before they clock in or after they clock out. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), along with numerous state laws, have been enacted to protect employees from situations just like these, safeguarding their right to receive the pay they have fairly earned.
In 1947, the FLSA was amended with the Portal-to-Portal Act (PPA), which clarified and defined which pre-and post-shift activities employers are obligated to pay their employees for. As described in the PPA, employers are not required to pay personnel for:
“walking, riding, or traveling to and from the actual place of performance of the principal activity or activities which such employee is employed to perform, and activities which are preliminary to or postliminary to said principal activity or activities.”
The PPA does not define what constitutes work, so each individual state is left to determine this themselves. However, the PPA does constrain compensable working time by excluding many activities workers may engage in before or after an employee concludes their principal work activities, including the time employees spend traveling to and from their primary worksite.
Some states have not adopted the federal Portal-to-Portal Act as part of their state wage laws. They include:
Depending on which state you work in, you could be owed significant financial compensation for time spent completing essential work responsibilities before and after your shift.
Workers Seeking Compensation for Time Spent Completing Pre- and Post-Shift Duties
Prolonged waits for pre-shift infection testing, sanitation procedures, and temperature checks became commonplace as businesses started opening back up during the COVID-19 pandemic. Workers seeking payment for time spent undergoing COVID testing and other coronavirus-related safety protocols could reach a successful settlement depending on the state or federal wage law they claim their employer violated.
In June 2022, a settlement was reached after the Missouri Department of Corrections (MDOC) neglected to pay straight-time and overtime wages for activities they required their workers to perform before and after their shifts. The Settlement Agreement stipulates that the MDOC will pay for these unpaid wages.
Contact a Workers’ Rights Lawyer to Determine If You Are Eligible to Recover Unpaid Wages
Lore Law Firm workers’ rights attorneys represent workers across the United States on a contingency fee basis, meaning we do not get paid unless you get paid. Our team has protected the rights of workers nationwide for over 25 years. If you think you could have a case for time that went unpaid while completing pre-and post-shift activities required by your employer, do not wait to contact our firm – there are strict deadlines that apply. We offer a free and confidential review for every potential client.