Can an employer force an employee past their schedule shift and then punish them for non-compliance?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can an employer force an employee past their schedule shift and then punish them for non-compliance?

For example, a shift is from 12:00-21:00. The employer forces an employee to stay 30 minutes after their shift ends (they are still being paid). It then punishes the team member for leaving, eventually leading to termination. Would the employee qualify for unemployment given these circumstances? Is ii legal to threaten/force them to work past their scheduled shift?

Asked on February 25, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Indiana


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Does this action violate the terms of a union agreement or employment contract? Does it in some way constitute a form of legally actionable discrimination? If not, then it is perfectly permissable. The fact is that most employment relationships are "at will". This means that a comapny can set the conditions of the workplace much a sit sees fit, including mandating that employees work past their shifts and disciplining them if they refuse. That having been said, they must be paid for this extra time and, to the extent that it puts them over 40 hours for their work week, all non-exempt workers should be paid at time and a half (i.e. overtime).

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