employer is making us stay over every night about a half hour to a hour then they tell us that any overtime we accumulate we have to burn on our launch hour. I live to far away to drive home on my lunch hour it would cost me $60 in gas for one day so I have to walk around Wallmart or Menards to burn all my overtime and this is per day. Can they legally do this to us.
2 Answers from Attorneys
Depends whether you are exempt (salaried) or non-exempt (hourly). Assuming you are non-exempt (hourly) probably NOT but if the reason the company is doing this is that it is in trouble and can't afford "legal" wages and you raise a stink, they wind up firing you, and even if you're right you're on the outside looking in. This is the tyranny of democracy: you have to wait for justice if you can afford it at all. If many of your co-workers want to contest this, then it may be time to seek counsel. However, there is another good saying: every good push deserves a shove, and the next step may be layoffs, or closure. Sometimes it pays to negotiate a good outcome, like deferred compensation if things turn around, but the situation may be far more complex that you know of, so it would be wise to get counsel involved. Or at least a good labor negotiator.....
They can mandate that you take an unpaid lunch as do most companies. Overtime is due for all hours worked in one week over 40. So, if they ask you to take an unpaid lunch and your hours worked do not exceed 40 in a workweek, they do not owe you overtime. If, however, you work over 40 hours one week and they ask you to work less time the following week without paying overtime for the week in which you worked overtime, they are likely violating the law.