Q: is it legal to have mandatory event that requires employees to work for little to no pay.
I work for a large company that had a New Years event and made it mandatory for us to attend. It was from 7:45AM - 3PM. They had us do physical labor such as lift and carry police barricades, tie balloons, and stand for long hours as crowd control. All this for a $5 envelope that they give us at the end of the event.
If the mandatory event takes place outside of your normal working hours and you are non-exempt employee who is paid by the hour, your employer must pay you for that time. If you have already worked 40 hours during the normal workweek, then you must be paid time and a half for the overtime. However, if you are a salaried employee, the employer probably does not have to pay you for this time.
If you believe your employer has violated the wage hour laws, you should discuss your situation with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible.
You can read more about some of the common forms of wage theft at https://www.workingnowandthen.com/new-york-wage-theft/
This response is not legal advice, but is general information only, based upon the information stated in the question and general legal principles. It is provided for general educational purposes of the public who may have similar questions, not for any specific individual or circumstance. It is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. Legal issues depend on all the specific facts of a situation, which are not present here. If you would like to obtain specific legal advice about your issue, you must contact a local attorney who is licensed to practice law in your state.
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