Ability to Sue for being overworked

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Ability to Sue for being overworked

I have been with my curre t company for 31 years and have also received good reviews and been a top performer getting several promotions over the years. 3 years ago we integrated with a bigger corporation who downsized our staff. As a result of the long hours and stress, I went out on medial leave for 16 weeks in 2014. Others in my group have done the same. I got a new boss in January and we have continued to work long hours in a very demanding environment. I was put on a performance improvement plan and told if performance didn’t improve in 60 days I would be fired. This occurred despite me telling my boss on numerous occasions that I was burned out and priorities needed to be set. Can I sue. I am currently out on medical leave again

Asked on July 28, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Maryland

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Do these actions violate the terms of a collective bargaining agreement or employment contract? Does your treatment constitute some form of legally actionable discrimination (i.e. is it based on your race, age (over 40), religion, disability, etc.)? If not, then as an "at will" worker your employer can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit and deems appropriate. Accordingly, your only remedy hear is to either accept these conditions, complain but risk termination, or quit.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, you cannot sue. There is literally no limit on how hard your employer may work you--they can require your to work 24/7/365. There is no limit on how stressful they can make your job, either. Since they may legally work you as long as they like and put as much stress or responsibility on you as they want, you cannot sue--you may not sue people or businesses for doing what they are legally allowed to do.
A company or employer, quite simply, does not need to care about yorur stress or if you are burned out, and does not need to set priorities. Under "employment at will," they can make the job as unfair, difficult, or unpleasant as they wish, and your only recourse would be to find a different job (i.e. you are not required to stay with them).


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