Any type of employee can be taken advantage of. That's why it is so important for employees to make sure that they have protected their legal labor rights and to ensure they take the proper measures if they believe their employer has violated the law.
When an employee discovers that their rights may have been violated, their next logical question is, "Can I sue for illegal working hours?" To answer this question first requires an understanding of what illegal working hours means in the context of most people's cases.
Illegal working hours are essentially assigned hours of work that are in violation of specific laws, such as a truck driver being pressured to take on extra loads or drive too long in violation of federal rules. However, if you have been asked to work extra hours and are an employee qualified to receive overtime and have not received overtime pay, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit. You will want to ask your lawyer, "Can I sue for illegal working hours?"
Is Being Overworked an Indication of An Illegal Activity?
These days, plenty of employees work 50 to 70 hours per week, which can have a negative impact on your health, your social life, your family, and more. There are no legal limits on employee hours, which means many people's interpretations of illegal working hours are personal opinions rather than a violation of real law.
Simply being overworked does not allow you to file a legal claim. However, you could have other types of employment lawsuits, like if your employer did not pay you overtime when they were supposed to.
While it is certainly very frustrating to be overworked, this in and of itself is not enough to bring a legal case against your employer. However, there are state and federal laws that protect your rights as an employee when an employer tries to make you work illegal hours.
If you have evidence that you can show that the employer knew or should have known about these situations and tried to force you to work anyways or threatened you that you would lose your job if you did not comply with a request, you may be eligible to bring legal action with the help of an employment attorney. Since there are so many specifics that apply based on state-level laws and the circumstances of your employment, it is very important you have your case evaluated by a knowledgeable lawyer who has practiced in this field of law for many years.
What Is Overtime Pay?
You may be using the term illegal working hours to describe your experience picking up extra shifts beyond 40 hours in a given work week and then not being compensated appropriately. State and federal labor laws mandate the payment of overtime rates for applicable workers.
If an employee works more than 40 hours per week under the Fair Labor Standards Act, those additional hours must be paid at 1.5 times the regular rate of pay for that employee. However, this rule does have quite a few exemptions including those employees who carry out professional, administrative, or executive duties. In some cases, you may need to refer to the specific state laws of your workplace.
Some states have very employee-friendly labor laws and a high volume of employers who may violate them. In California, for example, employers have to pay overtime if an employee works longer than 8 hours in a day, even if they do not work more than 40 hours in that same week.
Overworking and Workers' Compensation
Being asked to pick up extra hours or taking on unpaid work because you are being threatened with termination? This can have other implications too. Working too much can cause physical health ailments, especially if you work more than 10 hours per day.
If you are injured at work, workers' compensation may cover your medical bills and lost wages. You need to be sure that your company and your position are covered by workers' compensation and be able to show a reasonable connection between your medical condition and the working conditions.