Can a company make you work overtime indefinitely?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can a company make you work overtime indefinitely?

I have been working here for 7 years. We use to have 3 employees for my side of the company. A few years ago, they changed it to 2 people. However, after a few changes, they decided to let one go and hire a replacement. Since I work alone in this section, I am basically running an entire division by myself. The problem is, I work through lunch and have at least a guaranteed 10 hours of overtime each pay period, since I work during my lunch. I am averaging 18 hours of overtime per pay period as I am essentially doing a three person job on my own. I have worked for 43 business days alone, and the company has refused to hire anyone, let alone process an interview. I wanted to know what my options are as I feel I am overworked, underpaid, and exhausted. I ask my CEO everyday about the status of hiring and either get a ‘we are working on it’ response or no response at all. I don’t feel like they are doing anything in my best interest, nor in the best interest of the company. I have health issues and if I have to suddenly leave, no one is knowledgeable enough about my responsibilities here to take over in my absence. Thank you for your time and attention.

Asked on March 14, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that so long as you are being paid overtime, then there really isn't anything that you can do about your situation short of giving your notice. That is unless your treatment constitutes some form of legally actionable discrimination (which it does not appear to) or it violates the terms of a union agreement or employment contract. The fact is that most employment is "at will" which means that a company can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit.

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