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Can a Job Make You Do Mandatory Overtime - morgan and morgan
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Can a Job Make You Do Mandatory Overtime?

Can a Job Make You Do Mandatory Overtime?

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Can a Job Make You Do Mandatory Overtime?

For the decades leading up to 1938, American employers exploited workers by forcing them to accept substandard wages, work in unsafe conditions, and put in 16-hour days for eight hours of pay. Workers had no legal recourse to reverse the huge advantage employers had over them until the organized labor movement started to grow at the onset of The Great Depression. After applying pressure in Washington, D.C., influential labor unions convinced a majority of members in Congress to pass the landmark Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The FLSA established new guidelines for employment, including an overtime policy that requires employers to compensate workers more than what they receive for regular pay if they put in more than 40 hours per week. Despite the sweeping changes that provided workers with several legal protections, the FLSA failed to address one question that many workers still have today.

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  • Can a Job Make You Do Mandatory Overtime?

    Surprisingly, the answer is yes. Your employer can make you put in more than 40 hours per week. You still have the right to receive an hourly wage that is more than your regular rate of pay, but your employer is not prohibited by the FLSA or any other federal law to require workers to put in more than 40 hours per week. However, there are exceptions to the mandatory overtime rule, which one of the experienced employment attorneys from Morgan & Morgan explains to you during the first meeting.

    Since we opened our first office in 1988, Morgan & Morgan has expanded to have a national presence. Our skilled employment lawyers help clients recover wages, as well as address violations of the FLSA. When it comes to mandatory overtime, one of our experienced litigators determines whether you qualify for an exemption. Some workers do not have to work overtime when forced to by their employer.

    Schedule a free case evaluation today to discuss mandatory overtime and other employment law issues you might have with your employer.

  • What Is the FLSA?

    To answer the question, “Can a job make you do mandatory overtime,” you refer to the legal guidelines established by the Fair Labor Standards Act. The FLSA mandates that employers pay a minimum wage, which in 2022 sits at $7.25 an hour. However, many states have enacted employment laws that mandate the payment of a higher hourly minimum wage. The FLSA also contains the rules for overtime, which bases overtime pay on a 40-hour workweek. If you work more than 40 hours over a seven-day period, your employer must pay you an hourly wage that is 1.5 times the value of your regular rate of hourly pay. For example, if you receive $16 per hour for working 40 hours a week, any additional hours worked after 40 hours requires your employer to compensate you $24 for each additional hour worked.

    For all the protections granted to workers by the FLSA, the monumental federal law fails to address the mandatory overtime issue.

  • Can a Job Make You Do Mandatory Overtime?

    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.

  • Can Your Employer Fire You for Refusing to Work Overtime?

    Let’s say you are part of a team that has to complete a project within five working days. To ensure the team meets the deadline, your manager requires each member of the team to work as many hours as needed to get the job done right and on time. However, you have a significant family event scheduled three days from now. Can your employer fire you if you refuse to work the hours required to complete the project?

    The fundamental legal principle that addresses your employer’s demand that you work overtime is called at-will employment. This employment law principle states that either you or your employer can end the employment relationship at any time, and for just about any reason. One of the reasons why your employer has the right to end your employment relationship concerns mandatory overtime. Your employer can terminate the employment relationship if you refuse to work more than 40 hours a week.

  • How Does the FLSA Penalize Employers for Violating the FLSA?

    Employers that violate one or more provisions of the FLSA face two types of pushbacks. The first pushback occurs when a worker files a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages. Workers that do not receive minimum wage deserve back pay, as do workers that get paid the regular rate for every hour worked past 40 hours a week. If an employer wrongfully terminated you, the FLSA allows you to file a civil lawsuit that seeks just compensation for the unjust loss of your job. You have the right to seek monetary damages that do not cover tangible costs, such as the emotional distress triggered because of a job loss.

    The second type of pushback comes from the federal government, specifically the United States Department of Labor (DOL). As part of the DOL, the Wage and Hour Division has the legal power to fine an employer as much as $10,000 for every violation of the FLSA. If the investigator working for the FLSA discovers your employer has frequently defied the statutes written into the FLSA, the Wage and Hour Division can file criminal charges against your employer.

  • How Do Workers Report Violations of the FLSA?

    If your employer committed one or more violations of the FLSA, you must follow a process to report the violations. Before you start the reporting process, contact one of the employment attorneys at Morgan & Morgan to help you submit the most persuasive complaint.

    You file a complaint against your employer at one of the branch offices run by the Wage and Hour Division. The attorney you hire from Morgan & Morgan ensures you submit your name and contact information, as well as the type of business your employer operates. You also send the contact information of your employer. The Wage and Hour Division requires you to submit your job title, as well as a detailed description of your professional responsibilities.

    The most important documents to submit to the Wage and Hour Division concern information about your compensation, such as how much you earn an hour, when you get paid, and how you get paid. With the help of your employment lawyer, you submit a thorough description of each FLSA violation that includes the dates of the alleged infractions. After you submit your complaint, a representative from the Wage and Hour Division launches an investigation into your allegations. If you want to remain confidential during the complaint process, your lawyer files a form with the Wage and Hour Division to ensure you remain anonymous.

  • What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Complaint With the Wage and Hour Division?

    If you decide to file a complaint because your employer forced you to work overtime, you have a limited amount of time to submit the proper paperwork. According to the FLSA, you have two years from the date of the first wage and hour violation to file a complaint against your employer. However, you might get an additional year to file a formal complaint if your employer committed one or more intentional violations of the FLSA. Although up to three years seems like more than enough time to file a wage and hour complaint, you should act with a sense of urgency by filing your complaint as quickly as possible.

    The Wage and Hour Division recommends submitting a formal complaint within 18 months after the date when your employer first violated the FLSA.

  • Contact Morgan & Morgan

    Can a job make you do mandatory overtime? The answer in most cases is yes, but you should verify your overtime status by working with one of the trusted employment attorneys at Morgan & Morgan. You might have other legal issues that address wage and hour violations that your legal counsel can help you resolve.

    Schedule a free case evaluation to start the process of filing a wage and hour complaint against your employer.

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Last updated on May 11, 2023

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