Is it legal to not pay a person time and a half if they work the hours?

The new owner of the establishment that I work for is Hindu, and because of his faith the men do not do anything at all. I, as a front desk clerk, have been instructed to do the laundry and sweep the outside area (which is something maintenance has always done). I was also informed that if I work more than 40 hours I will not be paid time and a half. None of these things I believe are legal. The people he brought in do not speak English at all. They do not change the sheets on the beds (I’ve been informed of this by guests). I need to know what, if anything, that I  can do?

Asked on December 28, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Maryland

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you are a non-exempt employee (i.e. you are not in management or a position of authority/supervision), then if you work more than 40 hours per week, you are entitled to be paid overtime for any additional hours. This is the law. If you are not being paid for such time then you can file a complaint with your state's labor department and/or contact an employment law attorney.

As for the type of work that you must do and not getting any help from your fellow employees, the fact is that you probably have no legal recourse regarding this.  Most employment relationships are what is known as "at will". This means that your employer can set the terms and conditons of your employment as it sees fit.  In turn you, as an employee, can choose to work for this employer or no,; your choice.  Absent an employment/union contract or company policy to the contrary, your employer has not violated any law.  However, if you think that you are being treated differently then other employees due to your gender (or race, relifion, etc), they you may have a claim for employment discrimination.  Based on your facts, its not clear.


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