This isn't me but my girlfriend, let's call her Karen.
Karen was recently hired as a pharmacist by big chain pharmacy as a floater, in Florida, USA. A floating pharmacist is an employee (not contractor) who is scheduled and/or called to work at whatever location needs a pharmacist for one-off shifts and rarely goes to the same store. She is paid hourly but they pay based on the scheduled hours not actual hours. This means that if the pharmacy's stated closing time is 9:00 then that is when her shift "officially" ends. Despite this, if customers need service at 8:55 then she's going to be working until 9:30 between serving the customer and performing the closing duties.
She's contacted the scheduler about this to ask that her schedule be updated to reflect the extra half hour but was told she's expected to manage her own time. The scheduler gave, as an example that if Karen works a half hour late one day then she might come in a half hour late the next day to make up for it. This doesn't make any sense though because it's always different stores and each time she needs to be at a store it's so another pharmacist can go home or to open the store itself. There's almost never a situation when coming in late or leaving early is a realistic proposition because the law says a pharmacy can't be open unless there's a pharmacist there and she's always scheduled to cover the time that the pharmacy is open.
I'm assuming that if they've made the decision to hire her as an hourly employee that the law says they have to pay her for all the hours that she works. If that's the case, what's the best way to tactfully escalate this to the district manager without hurting her career development? Is this even possible to rock the boat and simultaneously not be viewed as a trouble maker?
Just to add clarity, I'm not looking for a legal opinion. I'm asking if it's particularly unlikely that she could escalate the issue without also painting herself as a troublemaker or whiner. Further if people think that tight rope walk is navigable what would be the best approach to make sure she gets paid for all her time. For example, I would assume an approach where she tells her boss "I'm going to turn away all customers that show up within 15 minutes of closing time unless you agree to pay me for my extra time" would be a bad tact as would "I'm going to the state to make an official complaint if you don't pay me for all my extra time". One thought that might be good would be for her to go to the district manager and recount the conversation with the scheduler and casually ask for an opinion as to how she could manage her time as the scheduler's example suggested.