Can You Refuse to Pay Unauthorized Overtime?

Q: Can an employer refuse overtime pay for an employee if the company policy clearly states that overtime must have prior management approval?

A:  Employees who clock in and out in order to be paid are usually nonexempt and only paid for the hours they work.  Even if the employee violated company policy by working unapproved overtime, an employer must pay a nonexempt employee for all hours worked.

In situations where employees repeatedly violate company policy by not getting manager approval for overtime, ESC recommends using the progressive discipline process.  The objective of a progressive discipline process  is to provide a structured corrective action  to improve and prevent a recurrence of undesirable employee behavior and performance issues.