Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. I am very sorry to hear that you are being worked so hard and not fully compensated for your time.
The good news is that the law does provide recourse in these circumstances. Specifically, the Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to compensate employees for all time in which they are "suffered or permitted to work," which is generally regarded as all time in which an employee is under the control of their employer. Thus, if your employer asks you to come into work at 6:00 a.m., you are under the control of your employer beginning at that point in time and must be pad accordingly. The same goes for work extending beyond the end of your ordinary work day.
With regard to overtime, employees in the state of New Jersey are entitled to overtime for all hours worked in excess of 40 per week. So, if your hours, including all prep time and time that you continue working off the clock exceed 40, your employer MUST pay you at time-and-one-half.
You are correct in recognizing the need for documentation to support your claim. Although your own personal testimony is admissible in support of a claim for unpaid wages and overtime, it is always helpful to have additional evidence corroborating your case. This evidence can take many forms. Testimony from co-workers who know when you come and go from work, text messages to your boss confirming your schedule, emails, personal journals and logs, etc.
To file a wage claim with the New Jersey Department of Labor, see here: http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/wagehour/complnt/filing_wage_claim.html
your employer will be legally prohibited from retaliating against you for making a claim, regardless of the claim's success.
Please do not hesitate
to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.
If you do not require any further assistance, I would be most grateful if you would remember to provide my service a positive rating
, as this is the only way I will receive credit for assisting you.
Finally, please bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.
Very best wishes to you.