What can I do about mandatory hours that I don’t want to work?

At my company I used to work 40 hours per week but now they have cut all our hours and we only work 35 hours a week. However, everyday my boss calls for 1-2 hours mandatory OT but never lets us go over 40 hours. I know that it is not OT because we don’t not work a 40 hour work week. Is this legal? Do I have the right to refuse and go home since they threaten automatic termination if we don’t stay.

Asked on July 15, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Unless you have an union contract, employment agreement or there is company policy contrary to this, no law is being violated. Additionally, your treatment must not constitute some form of actionable discrimination; that would be illegal.

The fact is that in most instances, a work relationship is what is known as "at will". This means that an employer can set the term and conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit. This includes when and why to fire an employee. For thier part, an employee can comply with their employer's requests or face termination.

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