What can I do if my employer won’t pay me for travel time after telling me it would be paid?

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What can I do if my employer won’t pay me for travel time after telling me it would be paid?

I work for a company that travels to different stores and takes their inventory. I was assigned to do a run of four different stores in one night, before I accepted this assignment I asked for some of the specifics regarding what I would be paid for and was told I would be paid for the time in the store, the time traveling between stores and mileage. However, when I received my paycheck I was only paid for the time in the store. In addition, they will not pay me for travel time to any other store, regardless of it’s location in proximity to the office (30 miles from the office is “local”).

Asked on May 9, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

First, if there was an agreement to pay you, which agreement (whether in writing or oral) was made prior to you accepting the assignment--and assuming, critically, that you had the right to turn down this assignment--then that agreement is enforceable and they must pay you as per it. Note that if you had no choice in the matter and had to take the assignment, then there would be no enforceable agreement. To form an agreement or contract, there must be an exchange of "consideration," or promises or things of value; however, if you had to go anyway, then you did not provide any consideration, since you were going to be doing the job no matter what.

Second, if you are an hourly employee, you must be paid for all hours worked. That includes or work done after your nominal or normal work hours, and it also includes travel time. Your employer could most likely legally not pay you for the last leg of the travel--i.e. going from the last store to your home--since that would be the equivalent of your afternoon or evening commute; however, they would have to pay you for your travel from your office to store 1, from store 1 to store 2, and from store 2 to store 3.

In regards to the obligation to pay hourly employees for travel done as part of their work, that obligation is to pay your hourly wage for the time; there is no legal requriement to provide mileage reimbursement--unless there was an enforceable agreement to do so.

From what you write, you may not have been paid everything you were owed. If your employer will not voluntarily pay you, your options would be to try to file a complaint with the state Department of Labor, or to bring a lawsuit.


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