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“Clopening” and wage theft: What to know

On Behalf of | May 7, 2024 | Employment Law

When you work two back-to-back shifts at your job, from closing until open again or with minimal time between one shift and another, that’s called “clopening” in modern lingo.

It’s a common (if highly unwelcome) practice in the retail, hospitality and food service industries, where businesses need all the help they can get “resetting” between the time the business closes shop for the night and starts admitting new patrons the following morning. 

Clopening is controversial because the long hours can negatively affect employees in numerous ways, including interfering with their sleep schedule and eliminating any semblance of a work-life balance. It can also lead to wage theft through several methods:

Overtime violations

Employers may want the help, but they don’t always want to pay for it. When an employee works overtime doing a “clopening,” they should be compensated fairly – but employers sometimes shift the records so that the employee is paid straight wages for two shifts, instead of overtime for the second.

Off-the-clock work

Employers aren’t always shy about pressuring their employees (especially young ones) into sacrificing a little of their personal time for the company. They may pressure employees to clock out “between shifts” when they’re working a clopening even though they never actually go home. That keeps their payroll figures low but deprives the employee of fair wages.

Break violations

Most California employees are entitled to a mandatory, 10-minute break every four hours (or major fraction thereof) that they work – but workers doing “clopenings” are usually pressed for time. Employers may pressure them to keep working, essentially stealing their time.

If you believe that your employer has violated the law and deprived you of fair wages, you don’t have to accept that kind of mistreatment. Learning more about your legal options and rights may help.


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