Can an employer make you do personal stuff forthem while on the company’s time?

UPDATED: Feb 21, 2012

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Can an employer make you do personal stuff forthem while on the company’s time?

This has nothing to do with the job just as she calls them “honey-do’s”. She has made us detail her car and move her washing machine. This was not part of being maintance or otherwise work related.

Asked on February 21, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unless you have an employment contract, including a union agreement, which sets out your responsibilities, your employer may legally have you perform personal tasks for her, such as moving her appliances, detailing her car, etc. If you are an hourly employee, you must be paid for all time spent doing this--it is still work, because they are tasks directed by your employer--but as long as you are paid, it is legal.

Not that the following concerns you, but there could be tax consequences for the company from this; for example, it may be that the time you spend on personal tasks for an employer is not a valid work-related expense for purposes of deducting the wages from employer income when determining income tax. However, that is the company's concern; your only concern, and the company's only legal obligation to you, is to pay you for this time.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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