The answer for a vast majority of cases is yes, your employer can force you to work more than 40 hours per week. However, there are exceptions to the mandatory overtime rule, which you might be able to refer to if you do not want to work more than 40 hours a week. These exceptions include:
Type of Industry
Although the FLSA fails to address mandatory overtime, many states have passed legislation that allows certain professionals to refuse additional work past 40 hours per week. In California, professionals that work in clerical, technical, mechanical, and professional positions can refuse to work shifts that last more than 16 hours over a period of 24 consecutive hours. Nurses that are employed at state-run hospitals have the right to refuse additional work over 40 hours a week.
Day of Rest
California often takes the lead by enacting groundbreaking laws that eventually become laws in other states. Such is the case with the “Say of Rest” statute, which forbids employers from forcing employees to work seven days in a row. The “Day of Rest” law applies to every occupation, even one that follows an on-call labor model. For example, your employer cannot schedule you to be on call for a shift if you are scheduled to work six consecutive days before the on-call shift.
Unsafe Work Conditions
Federal law prohibits employers from forcing employees to work in unsafe workplace conditions. This legal principle provides workers with more flexibility when it comes to challenging the mandatory overtime rule used by most businesses. Before you refer to the guidelines enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), you should first speak with one of the highly-rated employment lawyers at Morgan & Morgan to ensure you have enough evidence to file an OSHA complaint against your employer.
Overtime Used to Harass or Discriminate
Some employers use the mandatory overtime rule to harass and/or discriminate against workers. Your employer cannot force you to work overtime because of your age, race, gender, and/or national origin. Employers cannot harass workers by forcing them to work overtime. If you do file a complaint with OSHA, your employer is prohibited from making you work overtime for retaliatory reasons. You do not have to tolerate harassment and/or discrimination of any kind, and if you face harassment and/or discrimination in the workplace, you should contact the team of employment attorneys at Morgan & Morgan.