If the employees were salaried, not hourly, none of this would have been an issue. Salaried employees are expected to get the job done, no matter how many hours it takes. I have worked several jobs where I put in 50-60 hour weeks without overtime because I was salaried.
I believe that the federal labor laws say that to be salaried, generally speaking, an employee's responsibilities have to include a significant supervisory role over other employees and be pretty managerial in scope. Could be wrong... but that is my understanding.
Depending on the role... it MIGHT fall under the "creative" exemption. But a lot would depend on the exact primary role of the job.
So a person who simply mixes clay or fires kilns or other such tasks would likely not qualify to be salaried.
Lawpots...... you reading this? Yes / no?