Is it legal to force employees to work overtime ifthey choose not to stay past their scheduled hours?

UPDATED: Feb 8, 2012

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Is it legal to force employees to work overtime ifthey choose not to stay past their scheduled hours?

My employer on a regular basis force employees to stay past their scheduled work hours in order to finish the current order they are working on. In many cases they will give large orders which are impossible to finish by the time your scheduled work day is over. Although we are given overtime pay for any hours worked that exceed 40 hours per week, many of us do not want to work overtime and I was wondering if it is legal for my employer to force us to work over 40 hours per week?

Asked on February 8, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it is completely legal to require employees to work past the end of their regularly scheduled hours, unless those employees have a contract (including a union or collective bargaining agreement) which limits their hours or shifts. Otherwise, your legal protection under the law (the Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA) is that you must be paid overtime for hours worked past 40.

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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