Is a salary exempt employee required to work shifts other than their designated shifts?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is a salary exempt employee required to work shifts other than their designated shifts?

A salary exempt employee at 48 hours/week with a salary $34,996/year. My employer is always asking for additional 12 hour shifts. As a dedicated employee, I have taken on these extra shifts because I don’t want to lose my job. However, there is no extra compensation and exhaustion levels have reached a peak.

Asked on April 21, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Unless increasing your scheduled shifts violates the terms of an employment contract or union agreement, it is legal. As an "at will" worker, your company can set the conditions of your employment much as it sees fit, absent some form of legally actionable discrimination/retaliation. That having been said, just because you are labeld as a salaried worker, doesn't mean that you are not entitled to overtime pay. In other words, if your employer has classified you improperly, then you could also be considered eligible for overtime payments. Employees who are exempt from the overtime law include executives, administrators, supervisors, or those in managerial positions. If your duties do not fall within any of these categories but your employer classifies you as an exempt worker anyway just to avoid paying you OT, this may actually be a violation of wage and hour laws and result in your being owed back pay. If you think that this is what is happening to you, then contact your state's department of labor to file a wage complaint and/or consult directly with an employment law attorney in your area.

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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