As an exempt employee under contract, what are rights if department suddenly decides to change hours and days of operation?

I am a health professional that has 9 months left in a 2 year contract. I agreed to work in an outpatient facility who’s hours are 8-5 Monday through Friday. A typical day includes meetings 12-1 as well as working until 5:30-6

Asked on September 22, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) IF the contract itself specifies your hours, you cannot be forced to work more than those hours: doing so--requiring you to work more than contracted--would be a breach of contract and you could sue the employer, if necessary, to enforce the contract. 
However, if the contract does not itself specify your hours, your employer has complete discretion to set your hours or change them at will: your hours would be whatever hours your employer wants them to be. (Remember: except to the extent changed by contract, all employment in this country is "employment at will," which means its terms, including hours, are up to the employer, not employee.) Therefore, unless your contract locks in your hours, you have to work whatever hours your employer tells you to; if you refuse, they may terminate you.
2) An exempt salaried employee can be made to work any number of hours without additional pay; the weekly salary is the total or sole compensation for all work done that week (unless the employer voluntarily chooses to provide extra pay or other compensation).


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