What can be done if a family member is working for a privately owned factory and being forced to work 7 days a week?

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What can be done if a family member is working for a privately owned factory and being forced to work 7 days a week?

Each time he requests a day off, the request is denied. He is being told that if he does not show up for each day he is called to come in, then they will terminate him. Other employees are having the same issues as well. Even those who have had time off approved are being called back in to work with a threat that they will lose their job if they do not show up for work. Is this legal? The work in a factory with heavy machinery, presses and forklifts. Isn’t this considered a safety hazard?

Asked on October 24, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee

Answers:

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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Only certain professions have a cap on just how many hours a worker can legally be scheduled to work (e.g. certain medical professionals, airline pilots and the like). Otherwise, unless there is protection via the terms of an employment contract, a union/collective bargaining agreement or even company policy, an employee can be scheduled to work 7 days a week. Also, an employee's treatment cannot be due to any form of actionable discrimination or retaliation, however that does not appear to be the case here.
The fact is that most employment relationships are "at will", which means that an employer can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit. For their part an employee can either quit, comply with their employers terms, or refuse to comply and risk termination. While seemingly unfair, it is the law.
To be certain of his rights, your nephew can contact his state's department of labor or consult directly with an employment law attorney.


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