Are their laws protecting my husband from loosing his job since he is clearly being over work?

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Are their laws protecting my husband from loosing his job since he is clearly being over work?

My husband has been working 13 to 21 hour days for the past 2 weeks. He clocked into work at 7 am Monday and did not get home until 2 am Tuesday morning. He was back at work by 10 am and worked until 1 am Wednesday morning. He was then was told to be in at work by 7 am. So he went into work and has yet to come home and its 4 am Thursay morning. His boss told him to be in at work by 7 am sharp and not a second later. That is less than an hour of sleep and he has a 14 hour work day ahead of him tomorrow. He is afraid that his boss will fire him if he doesn’t show up on time.

Asked on April 12, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, there are no laws protecting someone from overwork--employers are  legally allowed to work employees as often, as long, and as hard as they like, so long as the employees do not have employment contracts setting hours or shifts. (If there are employment contracts, their terms are enforceable.)

If you husband is not exempt from overtime--and hourly employees are essentially never exempt--he must be paid overtime whenever he works more than 40 hours in a workweek. That is, for all hours past 40 in one week, he must be paid at a rate of 1.5 times his normal hourly rate, so long as  he is not exempt. If he is owed overtime and has not been paid it, he could file a complaint with the state department of labor and/or contact an attorney and bring a lawsuit. If he thinks he may be owed unpaid overtime, he should probably begin by discussing the matter with an employment law attorney (many provide a free initial consultation to evaluate a case--you can check on this before meeting with the lawyer) to see what his options may be.


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