Can I be forced to work Sunday?

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Can I be forced to work Sunday?

My company wants to go to a 7 day 12 hour work week. This is not a problem, however they do not want to pay overtime on Sunday. Can I refuse to work Sunday for religious reasons and try to force them to pay?

Asked on May 12, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If you have a legitimate religious need to not work on Sunday--e.g. you are observant and your faith does not allow Sunday work or requires attendence at church during what would be the work hours--the employer needs to accommodate you by letting you not work that day.
But you CAN'T use that as leverage to get time-and-half. Either you can work on Sunday or you cannot; if you can't, you can't work at all. There is no religion that says "you can work but only for time-and-a-half," so that would not be a valid religious objection. If you try that route, not only could you be forced to work Sunday anyway, without the additional pay, but your employer could fire you for cause (no unemployment) for attempting to make a false religious accommodation claim.
If religion is not an issue, yes, you can be forced to work Sunday. If you are, they only need to pay overtime when you exceed 40 hours for the week.


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