How many hours overan employee’scontracted hours can an employer force a salaried employee to work in a week?

UPDATED: Feb 15, 2012

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How many hours overan employee’scontracted hours can an employer force a salaried employee to work in a week?

I have a sister working as a store manager. She and managers at other locations are being forced to work well over the 50 hours contracted. All of them are at the point of exhaustion but all desperately need their jobs. Is this legal? They have been told that they can be made to work 24/7 if the company tells them too. I worked in retail for about 31 years. Yes I worked hard and long hours but never was asked to do as these people are doing. The is such a thing as exempted and non-exempted employees. What happened to the protection for management?

Asked on February 15, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, West Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You say that there are "50 hours contracted." If there is an actual employment contract or agreement which specifies hours, that contract is enforceable and the employer may not make staff more hours than their contracts provide for.

However, if there is no actual, enforceable contract--for example, there are just guidelines or expections--then the employer may make exempt salaried staff work any number of hours without additional compensation. There is, unfortunately, no protection for exempt salaried staff except as may be set forth in an employment contract.

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