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Is it illegal to ask employees to work for free?

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I see that Urban Outfitters was asking workers to work for free, is that illegal? Can a worked volunteer to work hours at a job where they are normally paid?
asked Oct 7, 2015 in Legal by jesheckah (20,300 points)
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Working for free is legal in certain situations and illegal in others. In the situation you asked about, it is illegal because the worker normally gets paid for the same job they would be working for free. Other situations are legal; for instance, say you work at a law firm and your boss wants you to come up with a writing sample. He could ask you to work on something like this without pay. [1]

Another situation to keep in mind is training. In most situations, employers must legally pay their employees for training. If they do not, they could potentially be setting themselves up for a lawsuit. [2]


1. http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2013/01/22/work-free-job-interview/

2. http://www.askamanager.org/2015/01/do-we-have-to-pay-new-hires-for-training-time.html
answered Oct 8, 2015 by erod429 (53,480 points)
But what about what urban outfitters is doing. What side of the law does that fall on?
There is kind of a thin line between legal and illegal, when it comes to what Urban Outfitters is doing. It is not mandatory, so basically, they are just asking for volunteers, which is legal. They call it a "team building activity" rather than saying what it really is---working for free! But to answer your question, it does appear to be legal.

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