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Unpaid work is often illegal

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Has your boss ever asked you to do some work without pay? Did you feel like you had no choice, worrying that you would lose your job if you didn't do it?

This is often illegal, even though it does happen. You need to know your rights. Don't let your employer take advantage of you by getting work without compensating you.

One way that this may happen, for instance, is when they tell you to do setup or preparation in advance. Imagine that you work at a deli. Your shift starts at 8 a.m., but that is when your boss wants you to start serving food. They tell you to make sure you're in by 7:30 a.m. to get everything set up for the day, to prepare the food and to do some light cleaning. You're still not getting paid until your shift starts at 8 a.m., but they expect you to put in that first half hour for free.

Another example is when you're told to do some basic work from home, on your own time. For instance, your boss tells you to keep an eye on your email even after you head home for the day, saying that you need to respond to client emails immediately, no matter what time it is. Even if you're off the clock, you have that obligation hanging over you, and you could even spend hours in your home office answering emails.

Do you think your employer has committed some wage and hour violations? If so, you need to know what legal rights you have to put an end to this exploitation and seek compensation for your time.

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