If my employer has asked me to work on my scheduled days off, can I refuse?

I’m a security guard in. I was told that I needed to work on my scheduled days off; that it was mandatory. I was threatened with disciplinary action if I refuse. Also, I have been told I will need to work mandatory overtime, and if I refuse i will have action taken against me. Can my employer do that?

Asked on September 18, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

As to the first part of your question, AZ law does not specifically cover this; in fact neither does federal law.  However, while the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not limit the number of hours per day or per week that employees aged 16 years and older can be required to work;  it does address the issue of overtime. This federal law requires that some employees be paid overtime when they work more than 40 hours a week.  The FLSA divides employees into categories of salaried employees.  These are the “salaried exempt,” who are not protected by overtime laws, and the “non-exempt,” who are entitled to overtime.  Exempt employees are “executives” or administrators”and they are not entitled to overtime.  According to the Department of Labor, unless exempted from the overtime regulations, employees covered by the Act must receive overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek at a rate not less than time and one-half their regular rates of pay.

Bottom line, an employer can generally set the terms and conditions of an employment relationship; including having an employee work on the scheduled days off as well as work mandatory overtime.  Unless a union/employment agreement that does not allow for such action, or this situation has arisen due to some type of discrimination (i.e., for reasons due to your race, religion, age, disability, sex, national origin), your employer's policy does not violate the law.


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