Can an employer require you to stay past your shift end?

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Can an employer require you to stay past your shift end?

I work for a large retailer at night. I have been told that I cannot leave until my work is finished. This may require working several hours past the end of my shift. While this should mean that I get overtime, the company I work for insists that no overtime be earned. So they require you to come in late the next day to burn up your overtime. They also require you to keep up with it and you can get in trouble if you have any overtime. This seems unfair. I know that a company must pay overtime if you work over 40 hours a week, but what about on a day-to-day basis?

Asked on February 28, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, a company can do this:

1) A company may make employees stay late, subject only to the requirement that if a nonexempt employee works more thann 40 hours in a week, he or she must get overtime--though not that exempt employees (almost all salaried, rather than hourly) employees can be made to stay late without any extra pay whatsoever.

2) A company may set it's own hours and shifts for staff, and may tell someone to come in late (or take a long lunch, or leave early) so as to avoid having that person work more than 40 hours and earn overtime. The only limitation would be if there was some sort of employment agreement, including union agreement, setting hours and shifts; otherwise, the employer may manipulate (legally) hours to avoid overtime.


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