For businesses that hire hourly workers, staff costs are often the most unpredictable operating expense. Companies try to prevent these costs from derailing the company budget and eating into profits by estimating how much help they will need on certain days and scheduling their staff accordingly.
Once a worker reaches the end of their shift, they should be allowed to leave once they clock out. Unfortunately, especially when things get busy, some companies will try to make workers stay and work after clocking out or do work before starting a shift. Doing that is a violation of the rights of hourly workers to fair compensation.
When you are at work, your employer has to pay you
Your schedule isn’t what dictates how much your employer pays you. Instead, they have to pay you for the time that you work and when they require you to be on their premises. They could steal hundreds of dollars in wages from you in just a few months, especially if they make a habit of demanding that you work after your shift ends.
If you work at a restaurant, your employer can’t demand that you come in early to chop vegetables without pay. If you are a server, they can’t force you to clock out and then keep rolling silverware for the next day.
Whether you have to clean up after clocking out at the end of a shift or do prep work before you start it, a regular obligation to work without pay is a violation of your rights. You may be able to bring a wage claim against the company, possibly in conjunction with other staff members who have faced the same treatment.