Google Screened

Are You in the Healthcare Field?

Find Out How We Can Help »
[et_social_follow icon_style="slide" icon_shape="rectangle" icons_location="top" col_number="1" outer_color="dark"]
Millions Recovered For Our Clients No Fees Unless We Win

Can I Get Fired for Refusing to Work Overtime Hours?

April 20th, 2022
Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. Will Fight to Protect You From Employers Taking Advantage of You.

Working overtime can be a great way to earn extra money from your job while at the same time earning extra experience. It may also be essential if you are trying to get a particular project completed by a deadline. However, there are instances when an employee may not wish to work overtime even though it means more money and experience.

Unfortunately, they still must work overtime if their boss is requiring that they do so, according to state and federal law. An employer is obligated to pay their employees extra if they work beyond 40 hours per week. As long as they are doing that, the employee does not have the right to refuse to work beyond overtime.

If your employer is not compensating you for your extra hours or is otherwise mistreating you, then you do have the right to file a claim. In those instances, you should speak with a lawyer who can advise you on your legal options.

What Is the Fair Labor Standards Act?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that prevents the exploitation of workers by their employers. The law limits an employee to 40 hours a week and mandates that if an employer needs an employee to work beyond that amount, they must pay them at least one and half times their regular rate.

There is a grey area when it comes to the law as it states that employers must pay overtime pay for their employees when it comes to working more than 40 hours per week. It does not say anything about working more than eight hours in a day, and Pennsylvania law also does not clarify this point.

Other aspects that the FLSA addresses include:

  • Defines the 40-hour work week.
  • Establishes the federal minimum wage.
  • Restricts use of child labor.
  • The law only applies to those who make more than $500,000 in annual sales.
  • Covers those employers who partake in interstate commerce.

Not all employees are covered under the FSLA. Those employees where the rule does not apply are called exempt employees, and they include:

  • Sales employees of retail or service establishments that work on commission.
  • Recreational and/or seasonal establishments.
  • Computer professionals earning at least $27.60 per hour.
  • Mechanics, parts men, and/or salesmen in car dealerships.
  • Loaders, drivers’ helpers, and drivers.
  • Farm workers.
  • Administrative, executive, and/or professional employees who are paid salary.

What Does Pennsylvania Say on Mandatory Overtime?

The Commonwealth is employer-friendly in that it allows them to require that their employees work overtime. If an employee refuses to work overtime, the employer has the authority to discipline the employee, including termination.

Pennsylvania mirrors the federal law in that employers are required to pay their employees time and a half if they work overtime. It is against state law for an employer to require that an employee take compensatory or comp time in lieu of being paid for overtime. If your employer is not willing to pay you for extra hours but instead forcing you to take comp time, speak with a lawyer about your legal options.

Are There Any Exceptions to the Law?

As with most laws, the FSLA is not absolute as there are certain exceptions to the law. A major one pertains to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which gives an employee with disabilities the flexibility to opt out of overtime duty as long as the work they are doing is classified as light duty. The ADA defines light duty work that is not particularly taxing on an individual. However, just because an individual has a disability does not necessary prohibit them from working overtime. Assuming they cannot injure themselves, those who have a disability can work overtime.

Another exception is if a person negotiated a limit to their overtime at the time of their hire. If such an arrangement was made it should be included in the employee contract both sides signed. If the employer is attempted to violate the terms of that contract, they could be facing legal consequences for those actions.

Other exceptions to having to work overtime include:

  • If your overtime hours would create an unhealthy or unsafe work environment for you.
  • If your employer is not paying you properly for the overtime, you already work under state and federal law.
  • If your schedule requires you to work six days in a row for your current week.

There are instances when an individual employee will not be the one that negotiates the amount of overtime they work. If that individual is a member of a union, then the union might negotiate certain parameters of how the employer will treat overtime.

If an employer is not fulfilling their responsibility, while they might have a legal matter on their hands, they could also have a labor dispute as well.

What Are Alternatives to Working Overtime?

There are many employers who rely on mandatory overtime as a cheaper alternative to hiring more employees. There are those that welcome the extra hours because of the additional pay that it affords them, although there are those who may not wish to work overtime.

While they cannot legally refuse, an employer may offer alternatives, outside of comp time, for those who are looking to avoid working any additional hours. Those alternatives include:

  • Rather than requiring a specific person to work a certain overtime shift, an employer could offer the opportunity to the entire team by posting the hours and seeking volunteers.
  • If an employer does not wish to overwork workers, they can reach out to a staffing agency to hire temporary help.
  • While employer may not wish to bring in additional full-time help, they can hire part-timers to fulfill the additional workload and be able to pay them less than the overtime rate.
  • If an employer can sense that the company might encounter a staffing problem soon, they can address it immediately and avoid the possibility of mandatory overtime.

Employers and employees who work together should be able to come to a mutual arrangement so that the work gets done and the workforce is not overtaxed.

When Does it Make Sense to File a Lawsuit?

Recently, several exempt employees have been getting tired of the amount of overtime that they have been forced to endure and have decided to take their grievances to court. The push to work longer days is becoming normalized without the benefit of overtime pay.

If an employer is going to mandate overtime for their employees, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that they provide additional meal and rest breaks particularly when a person’s shift goes beyond the traditional eight hours.

While an employer has the right to require that their employee works overtime, they do not have the right to overwork them. In addition, they do not have a right to force one group of employees to work overtime while not requiring others based on characteristics protected by federal and Commonwealth anti-discrimination laws.

Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. Will Fight to Protect You From Employers Taking Advantage of You

If you have been forced to work overtime and your employer is not paying you for your time, one of our Philadelphia employment lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. will help you. Call us at 215-569-1999 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania, including Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Northeast Philadelphia, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County.

View All Practices
2019 American Trail Lawyers badge
Lead Counsel Rated
life time achievement
million dollar advocates badge
AV Peer Review Rated
Philly Happening
Top one badge
Silver Client Champion Award 2020
super lawyers badge

As Seen On

avvo Martindale Justia FindLaw
© 2024 Sidney L. Gold and Associates, P.C. All rights reserved. [ Site Map | Privacy Policy ]

Attorney Advertising Materials. Sidney L. Gold is responsible for the content of this website. This website is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

Website Accessibility: Sidney L. Gold & Associates P.C. is committed to ensuring digital accessibility for people with disabilities. We are continually working to improve the accessibility of all content on our website and applying the relevant accessibility standards.

* The awards and accolades displayed on this website were issued to the attorneys, or the entire law firm by the respective providers of these honors. They are as follows, Avvo Inc., Super Lawyers®, Martindale Hubbell Peer Review Rated, ASLA Top 100 Lawyers, Million Dollar Advocates Forum, Legal Leaders Top Rated Lawyers, Bar Register Preeminent Lawyer, Happening List Winner, BBB Accredited Business, National Association of Distinguished Counsel Top 1 Percent, America's Top 100 Attorneys, The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute for law and policy, Best Lawyers, Lead Counsel Rated, Top Employment Lawyers in Philadelphia, Association of American Trial Lawyers Top 100 and Martindale Hubbell Client Champion Silver. No aspect of these advertisements have been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.