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Lead Buzz 10/05

Busted for off-the-clock work, the cost of employees who smoke, and more

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This story appears in the October 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

The Department of Labor is going after off-the-clock work. In one high-profile case last winter, Cingular Wireless was ordered to pay $5.1 million in overtime and back wages to more than 25,000 call-center employees who worked past their scheduled shifts.

In the wireless workplace, the on-the-clock/off-the-clock line has blurred, but federal rules remain the same. Non-exempt employees in all companies must be paid for all the time they work, even if it happens before they sign in or after they sign out. "If they're working, the employer has to pay them," says Jonathan Segal, who works on wage and hour issues as an employment partner with the WolfBlock law firm in Philadelphia.

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