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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12513
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I hired a potential employee on Friday. She started

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I hired a potential employee on Friday. She started yesterday at 9:30 am and was suppose to go on a 15-30min break. But instead decided to go on a 70 min break came back and fell asleep at her desk while she was suppose to be working. So i decided to fire her at 3pm. Am I still required to pay her for her time in the state of MN for sleeping on the job?
JA: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Minnesota
JA: Is the employment agreement "at will," union, full time or part time?
Customer: at will and full time
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: no

Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do everything I can to answer your question.

There is an extremely strong presumption that when an employee is at work they are working and, thus, must be paid for their time. Technically if an employee was performing no work at all (i.e. completely asleep), this would not be considered compensable time and you would not need to pay for it. However, sound practice would be to still pay the employee for this time, as the consequences of a DOL finding that you intentionally withheld earned wages vastly exceed what you will save by not paying this employee for a couple hours of their time. As an employer, you must pick your battles, and this is not one that is worth the fight.

If I can clarify anything at all for you, please do not hesitate to ask. It is my pleasure to assist you further if necessary....

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
But isn't there a law that protects me about that situation?

The Labor Code is heavily geared toward protecting employees, not employers. However, the law does only require you to pay for time an employee is actually working. The problem is the extremely strong presumption in favor of any time an employee spends on the clock being compensable work time. Could you refuse to pay on the ground that the employee was not actually working but instead was sleeping? Sure you could. I’m certain that the employee would dispute being actually asleep and file a wage claim, and you would have yourself a DOL investigation that could result in penalties being imposed upon you if the DOL finds in the employee’s favor. What I’m trying to explain is that this is not worth it for you.

Was there anything else I can do to assist you?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.

I'm glad I could answer your question, I am just sorry that I could not provide better news. If you would be so kind, please take a moment to positively rate my service before leaving. Rating does not cost you anything, but it's how I am compensated for my time on Just Answer and how I make a living.

Best wishes,


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