Not Paying for Work Performed. Not an Option


“Do we have to pay for time worked that was not approved?”
In a word, yes!  If it is time worked, it is compensable. Employers are obligated under federal law (FLSA) to pay employees for time spent working.
“But Rue we didn’t tell her to come in on a Saturday! She did that on her own!  Why should we have to pay her for working outside of her schedule?”
Here’s why:  SHE WORKED.
She did something that benefitted the company and the company has an employment relationship with her. The Wage and Hour Division of DOL looks at that relationship and whether work (their definition, not yours or mine) was performed.  If so, you owe!
“Come on Rue! She has a schedule She’s doing what we didn’t tell her to do. Isn’t it as bad as NOT doing something we TOLD her to do?”
Yes!  And there’s your remedy! Employers may coach, counsel, train, or discipline employees for violating protocol and policy, and even just for having bad judgment.  Employers can discipline employees for working when they were not supposed to.
But they still must pay for time worked.   {insert horrified expression emoticon here}.
“Well, we’ll just fire her.”
Not so fast.  If others were allowed to do this (or similar) before, there could be a problem.  Be sure you’re being consistent with the enforcement of your policies and expectations. And even so, you still gotta pay her for time worked. 
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