Many FLSA claims revolve around “pre-shift work” which is what we call the time people spend working before they get to go on the clock and be paid. Pre-shift work can come in many forms. For example, people who work in the restaurant industry are frequently required to be at work 15 minutes early to get ready or they are considered late. If you are required to be at work, you should be paid to be there under the FLSA. Another example of pre-shift work is coming in to work to boot up a computer and get programs running that are required to do your job, but then not being allowed to clock in until all of the programs are live and you go live on the phones, chat system, etc. If you are at work and doing steps necessary for your job, you are supposed to be paid for this time. Some jobs require you to show up early to attend management meetings or training events. If it is work related, they are supposed to pay you for this time, even if it is before your scheduled shift.
Pre-shift violations are especially common in hostile work environments. For some reason, it seems like the more of a jerk your boss is, the more comfortable they are doing improper things like working people off the client. Many times people call us because their manager cusses them out and abuses them. Unfortunately, this is not a labor violation in Tennessee unless it violates a federally protected class. However, that same manager many times violates the FLSA as part of their abuse by forcing certain employees to do extra pre-shift work, like rolling extra silverware or training new employees, as punishment. This pre-shift off the clock work is much more likely to be what gets your abusive supervisor in trouble as opposed to his actual inappropriate behavior.
(c) 2015 Law On Your Schedule