Can an employee be made to work additional hours for an affiliated company without pay?

UPDATED: Dec 7, 2011

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Can an employee be made to work additional hours for an affiliated company without pay?

I work for a company owned by my CEO, he also owns a sister company. I work work 12 hour shifts, 4 days a week for my company. Recently, he is having me do another job, not relevant to my job now, for the sister company without pay. This would be for 8 hours a day tying into my 12 hour shift at the same time. The employee performing the the job now, who I will be involuntarily replacing, gets compensated for the job, however I will not. Is this legal or just unethical? It’s an entirely different job position with a different company.

Asked on December 7, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

It doesn't matter whether it is a different company or not, since your supervisor (the CEO) has a right to tell you to perform work for other entities. It also does not matter whether a different employee would be paid for the work or not. All that matters is your own pay "classification":

1) If you are an hourly employee, you must be paid for all hours worked--i.e. for all  work your employer directs you to do, no matter who the work is for. You must also be paid overtime for hours worked over 40 in a week, as applicable.

2) If you are salaried and exempt from overtime, your employer may make you work any number of hours, for any entity, without additional pay.

3) If you are salaried but not exempt from overtime, then you should get additional compensation for hours worked past 40 in a week; but for hours under 40, it doesn't matter what entity you're doing the work for.

As you can tell from the above, not all salaried employees are necessarily exempt from overtime; to be exempt, the employee's duties or responsibilities must also pass certain tests, which you can find at the federal Department of Labor website. If  you are an hourly employee, or believe you are salaried but not exempt from overtime, you may have a claim for additional compensation and should speak with an employment law attorney. Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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