Is it legal for any employer to make me work an additional 24 hour shift, due to someone calling out sick?

UPDATED: Sep 8, 2011

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Is it legal for any employer to make me work an additional 24 hour shift, due to someone calling out sick?

I work for a county government agency and am on a 24/48 hour schedule; we work 24 hou  rs on and have 48 hours off. When we are done with our 24 hour shift, 15 minutes or soprior to going home, if someone calls in sick for the next day’s shift our  employer will “holdover” an employee for an additional 24 hours. Even if it is against the employees will. We have been told that we will be fired if we don’t comply. Can they legally fire me if I don’t want to stay for the mandatory shift (a total of 48 hour in a row)?

Asked on September 8, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The following answer relates to the law generally: it does not take coginanze of any employment agreements, union agreements, civil service rules, or rules pertaining to certain specific jobs or industries (such as rules limiting flight time for pilots or driving time for truckers) which may apply to you.

As a general matter, an employer may set *any* terms and conditions for employment, including shifts, hours, days worked, that it likes, and may make employees holdover for additional shifts otherwise work other than on their "regular" shift. The employer must pay hourly employees for all hours worked, including overtime; and must pay other nonexempt employees, including nonexempt salaried employees, overtime if they work more than 40 hours in a single work week.

The employer may not discriminate in who it makes work on the basis of race, religion, age over 40, disability, or sex.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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