Is my employer allowed force me to omit overtime from my time sheet?

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Is my employer allowed force me to omit overtime from my time sheet?

I work for a recruitment agency in a contract to hire position for another company. I am in training but I assume overtime works the same as doing actual work in this scenario. My first week I had an hour of overtime that was approved and I received payment for. At the end of my second week I was contacted by the recruitment agency and asked to remove all overtime as that needed to be approved through the host company. The problem is, I’d already worked those hours. I complied not wanting to cause any issues with my pay but I can’t shake the feeling that I was robbed of 3.5 hours. There may be a clause in my employment contract that states overtime must be approved, however if I’ve already worked those hours am I wrong to take my employer allowing me to work as approval?

Asked on May 4, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, South Carolina

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you were not told the policy regarding working overtime hours, then you need to be compensated for all time worked. That having been said  , if you were notified and explicity informed that overtime needed to be approved in advance, then your company can refuse to approve any hours worked without prior approval. Bottom line, an employer can force a worker to omit overtime from their time sheet, under certain conditions.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

IF you were told in advance (before working the hours) that overtime required prior approval, then they could refuse any unapproved hours, since you worked them against the employer's explicit instructions, which you may not do: the employer, not employee, sets workplace rules and policy. However, if they did not put you on notice in advance but rather allowed you to work those hours, you should be paid (and paid overtime) for them. Whether it worth taking legal action against the employer for that amount of money (since it would require legal action, such as a small claims lawsuit or complaint to the dept. of labor, if they will not voluntarily pay) is something you need to consider carefully before acting.


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