Can I be fired for not working over time if no one asked me or told meI had to?

I was fired for not working the weekend. I was never asked to work it nor was I told I had to. Also, I had worked 16 hours overtime per week for 2 weeks prior to getting fired. My employer told me they could not pay me for my overtime until they had the money to do so. I was told I would be paid in cash for my overtime the next pay period. that did not happen. I asked about my overtime and was told they do not have it and I feel my question up set my employer very much. The next thing I know I was out of a job. it seems very wrong to me.

Asked on October 17, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

There are several different issues here.

1) Can you be fired for not working overtime or over a weekend? Yes. Employers have the right to tell employees when to work, and to fire them if they won't work those hours, unless the employee has some contract setting his or her schedule.

2) However, if your work overtime (more than 40 hours in a workweek) and are not exempt from overtime (for the most part, only salaried managers/executives, salaried upper-level administrators, and salaried professionals are exempt; all hourly wage workers are not exempt), you must be paid overtime for the work.

3) While you can generally be fired--unless you have an employment contract to the contrary--at any time, for any reason, there are some exceptions: and one exception is, you may *not* be fired for placing a claim or making a complaint about unpaid overtime. Employers may not retaliate against you for requesting the overtime which you are legally due; if they do, they have have committed wrongful termination. From what you write, it would be worth it for you to discuss this situation in detail with an employment attorney.


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