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Can an Employer Make You Work Overtime Without Notice?

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You may be tired of being asked to work beyond your normal shift or being pressured to come in on days you weren’t originally scheduled. Although your employer is within their rights to make you work overtime without prior notice, you should be paid accordingly and receive extra pay if you work more than 40 hours per week. Here’s what to know about overtime laws and mandatory overtime.

Federal Overtime Laws

According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), non-exempt employees who work more than 40 hours per week are entitled to overtime pay of at least one and a half times their regular rate for each additional hour. Tipped employees are also eligible for overtime pay under these laws.

Many companies give advance notice for overtime, but no laws require employers to do so. One exception is where workers represented by a union negotiate a contractual agreement for prior notice for overtime.

Can You Refuse to Work Overtime?

In most cases, no. Because nearly all states recognize employment-at-will, employers can require mandatory overtime and discipline or even fire workers who refuse.

Weekly Hour/Overtime Restrictions in Some States and Industries

The FLSA establishes the 40-hour workweek but does not currently impose a limit on the number of hours an employee can be required to work. However, some states and professions have restrictions on overtime or set maximum weekly hours. For example, some commercial truck drivers might be entitled to overtime but are also subject to driving hour limits under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Healthcare professions in several states have mandatory overtime limits and maximum shifts. Nurses in California can only work up to 12 hours in a 24-hour period and cannot be required to work overtime except in emergencies. The COVID-19 pandemic has influenced other states to follow suit, recognizing that more reasonable hours for healthcare workers can lead to better patient care and employee morale.

Since employment and overtime laws between states can be complex, workers may not even know they are entitled to overtime pay or are taken advantage of by their employers in various ways.

Common Overtime Violations

Employers may try a few tricks to get out of paying overtime. Such tactics include:

Instructing Employees to Work off the Clock

A common way employers try to avoid paying overtime is by pressuring employees to work off the clock. You should never clock out and keep working, work through your meal or rest breaks, or do work before or after your shift without being paid.

Misclassifying Employees

Independent contractors don’t have to be paid overtime under the FLSA, and employers may attempt to withhold overtime pay by deliberately misclassifying employees. This can also include wrongfully classifying employees as overtime-exempt managers or supervisors even when their job duties don’t differ from other workers.

If your work falls within a law’s definition of “non-exempt” employment, you can’t be denied your rights as an employee under that law — including overtime pay.

Missing Overtime Pay? Call Biller & Kimble, LLC

Even though you can be required to work overtime without notice, it’s never legal for employers to withhold overtime pay or refuse to compensate you properly for your time.

If you work overtime but aren’t receiving the wages you should, a wage and hour attorney at Biller & Kimble, LLC can help. We have a strong track record of holding employers accountable for incorrect overtime and pay violations. Call us today at (513) 202-0710 to discuss the details of your case or reach out online.