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Recently there was a routine fire drill in an office building. As with most fire drills, it took about half an hour for the fire drill to complete and for everyone to get back to work.

When the employees got back to their desks, they were told to charge 30 minutes of time to an overhead charge number, but then management sent out a correction saying that they were not allowed to charge the time lost during the fire drill. Instead, they had to "flex" their time (that is, make up the 30 minutes at some other time during the pay period, or else take vacation time).

Is this illegal, or just bad practice? Do these employees have any recourse? Any examples of similar times when an employer mandates a period of time that an employee NOT be allowed to work during normal working hours are welcome also.

Jurisdiction is in Virginia, USA, but input from other areas welcome for my curiosity.

merged by jimsug Oct 19 '15 at 9:06

This question was merged with Can an employer withhold pay for a fire drill? because it is an exact duplicate of that question.

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