Can my employer expect my department to increase our workload/hours by 50% or more to accommodate the extra reporting that is needed due to the company be acquired?

The final close date of the sale is expected to be 1Q of next year. We have been told it is “business as usual” until that time. If layoffs occur at closing, severance will be paid in addition to unvested RSU. However, “business as usual” has now turned into working nonstop – including weekends now – on preparing documents and information relative to upcoming 25 weeks of transition meetings between the companies. In addition to our “regular” workload. Can my employer expect my department to increase our workload/hours by 50% or more to accomodate all of this extra reporting that is needed? If I quit as a result of this expectation, do I have any recourse to obtain severance etc?

Asked on July 13, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

1) There is NO limit on how many hours your employer can ask you work--they can ask for 168 hours per week. If you are an hourly employee, you must be paid for all hours worked, of course, and overtime for hours past 40. If you are salaried but not-exempt from overtime, you have to be paid overtime past 40 hours. If you are salaried and exempt, you may be made to work an unlimited number of hours for no additional pay.

2) If you quit because you do not want to work the hours you have to, you will not be eligible for unemployment compensation and are very unlikely to get severance, though your employer could voluntarily and freely elect to give you severance, if they want.

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