For all intents and purposes, the week before Christmas is the busiest shopping week of the year. This is normally when shoppers who have procrastinated finally hit the malls in search of last minute gifts (and deals). Retailers know this; which is why new discounts on selected items are introduced, and stores stay open later than usual until Christmas Eve.

To fulfill these needs, retailers may ask workers to work overtime. While some workers welcome the opportunity to make a little more money, others may feel pressured into putting in more time despite wanting a little time off.  Additionally, some workers may be asked to work “off the clock” to complete menial tasks such as display prep, cleaning duties, and the like.

If you are feeling pressured into working under these conditions, this post will help answer some of your questions. However, keep in mind that the following is not legal advice. Your specific situation must be reviewed by an experienced employment law attorney. 

Don’t be afraid to say “no” – State and federal law prohibits employers from requiring employees to work “off the clock.” Essentially, any duties required in preparing a store must be duly compensated. So if you are asked to “do a few things” before clocking in, you have a right to decline.

Make sure you are paid properly – If you decide to work overtime, state and federal law requires you to be paid time-and-a-half.  This applies if you work more than eight hours in a given day, or more than 40 hours in a week.

If you have additional questions about potential wage violation claims, an experienced employment law attorney can help.