I see many employee policy manuals that prohibit “unauthorized overtime”, but employers must still pay an employee his overtime pay, whether the time worked was authorized or not.
Employers need to understand that all governmental enforcement agencies, such as the Texas Workforce Commission (“TWC”) and the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”), treat paychecks as sacred and not subject to any reduction or withholding because of a disciplinary reason.
Unauthorized overtime can result in disciplinary action, like a written warning, a suspension or a firing, but not docking of a paycheck or any refusal to pay.
The TWC explains it this way in their publication “Especially for Texas Employers”:
Many employers feel that such [overtime] should not be payable as long as the employer has not authorized the extra work, but the DOL’s position on that is that it is up to the employer to control such extra work by using its right to schedule employees and to use the disciplinary process to respond to employees who violate the schedule.
Just saying in your employee handbook that an employee cannot work overtime without prior authorization is not sufficient. You as an employer need to take steps to closely monitor (and pay for) all hours actually worked. Continue reading Employers Must Pay for “Unauthorized Overtime”