Can employees recover overtime for after-hours work they never reported at the time?

Jon Hyman:

When we last examined Allen v. City of Chicago — a case in which a class of Chicago police officers claimed their employer owed them unpaid overtime for their time spent reading emails off-duty on their smartphones—an Illinois federal court had dismissed the claims, holding that most of the emails were incidental and non-essential to the officers’ work, and, regardless, the employer lacked specific knowledge of non-compensated off-duty work.

[In August] – in what is believed to be the first, and only, federal appellate court decision on whether an employer owes non-exempt employees overtime for time spent off-duty reading emails on a smartphone — the 7th Circuit affirmed [pdf].

While under existing precedent an employer must pay for all off-hours work it knows about even if the work is unwelcome and against its policy, it is evidently not required to pay for work that it never learned about at the time because employees ignored a policy requiring them to report it.

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