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Can My Job Require Mandatory Overtime?

Published By | Feb 3, 2022 | Employment Law, Wage: Overtime, Wrongful Termination |

Wage And Hour Attorneys Best Answers: Can my boss make me work overtime on short notice? Can I be fired for refusing to work overtime? Can the company I work for schedule me for overtime without my permission?

I just read an article in Newsweek about a viral TikTok post of a man receiving a call from his boss asking him if he is willing to come in to work overtime on his day off because other workers called off because of COVID. (We like Newsweek – see Spitz Recognized In Newsweek As A Top Seven Superstar Law Firm).

The employee in the video ultimately declines and ends the call with his boss, who is still trying to plead his case. The video now has 425 likes, 5,145 comments and 3,994 shares. What strikes me the most is the comments. Some commentators are really offended that a boss or supervisor would even ask an employee to work overtime on short notice. (Of course, I’m not sure what a manager is supposed to do when there are last minute call offs – send the rest of the employees home because the business does not have enough people to operate?) Some of the commentators, who clearly do not have legal degrees suggest that a company cannot require working overtime as a condition of employment. This is just not true – at least under Federal law.

In reality, as our actual wage and hour lawyers will tell you, your employer can set any schedule that it so chooses and, in doing so, require you to work overtime. The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA“), which is the federal law that addresses overtime, does not in any way limit employers from setting however many amount of hours per day or per week. The FLSA also does not address how much advance notice an employer must give its employees about when the employees will be required to work, even if it is over time hours.

Instead, the FLSA only mandates that these employers pay non-exempt employees time and a half for all hours worked over 40 hours in that designated work week. (See Who qualifies for overtime pay?; Overtime Attorney Top Answer: I’m A Manager. Can I Get Paid For Overtime Hours?; Salaried Employee? – Doesn’t Necessarily Mean You’re Not Entitled To Overtime Compensation).

If you choose not to work the schedule set by your employer, regardless of the amount of overtime required, your employer can legally fire you without it being a wrongful termination. The employment at will doctrine states that your employer can fire you for any reason or no reason at all as long as the reason is not contrary to law. Because there is no law limiting the amount of overtime that your employer can schedule you for, it is not contrary to law to fire you for declining to work overtime.

“Unfair,” you say? Well, the law does provide a remedy to employees who do not want to work overtime – quit, threaten to quit, or accept the possibility that you can be fired. The employment at will doctrine also means that an employee can quit for any reason.

Of course, if you have a medical or disability condition that limits the amount of hours you can work or a religious basis for not working certain days, that would be reviewed by one of our employment discrimination attorneys under a different standard. (Can My Job Force Me To Work On The Sabbath? Best Lawyer Reply!; Can I Get A Day Off Every Week For Religious Observance? I Need The Best Religious Discrimination Lawyer In Ohio!​) Likewise, you boss cannot select employees based on their race/color, religion, gender/sex (including pregnancy and LGBTQ+ status), national origin, or age to work unfavorable overtime requirements. (At the same time, your supervisor cannot give out favorable overtime slots based on these protected classes either). Additionally, there are some laws that limit hours for certain safety sensitive professions, such as truck drivers and nurses, as well as laws that preclude children from working too many hours. Overtime may be limited by a collective bargaining agreement. Depending on where you live, thee are eighteen states that have passed some laws that limit the number of hours that a certain class of employees can work in a workweek, including Alaska, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington, and West Virginia. In Ohio, there are no laws that prohibit or otherwise limit the right of an employer to set its employees’ hours as it sees fit.

If you believe that your employer is not paying you all of your wages for all of your lawfully earned overtime compensation at a rate of one and half times your normal wages as required under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act or Ohio Minimum Fair Wage Standards laws or you are an nonexempt employee that has been misclassified as exempt or independent contractor, contact the attorneys at Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm today for a free and confidential initial consultation. The wage and hour lawyers at The Spitz Law Firm will provide you with the best options for your overtime pay dispute situation. If you even think that you may be entitled to overtime pay that you are not being paid, call our Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Toledo attorneys right now. Do not wait. The longer that you wait, the less that your claim may be worth.


The materials available at the top of this overtime, wage and hour web page and at this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still asking, “Am I entitled to overtime pay when I work over 8 hours per day?”, “Does my job have to pay me for extra for working on short notice or during the weekend”, “My paycheck is not right” or “What do I do if I was fired for refusing to work overtime on short notice”, the your best option is to contact an Ohio overtime attorney to obtain advice with respect to FLSA questions or any particular employment law issue. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at the top of this page or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of The Spitz Law Firm, Brian Spitz, or any individual attorney.


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