Can an employee be made to work additional hours for an affiliated company without pay?

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Can an employee be made to work additional hours for an affiliated company without pay?

I work for a company owned by my CEO, he also owns a sister company. I work work 12 hour shifts, 4 days a week for my company. Recently, he is having me do another job, not relevant to my job now, for the sister company without pay. This would be for 8 hours a day tying into my 12 hour shift at the same time. The employee performing the the job now, who I will be involuntarily replacing, gets compensated for the job, however I will not. Is this legal or just unethical? It’s an entirely different job position with a different company.

Asked on December 7, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It doesn't matter whether it is a different company or not, since your supervisor (the CEO) has a right to tell you to perform work for other entities. It also does not matter whether a different employee would be paid for the work or not. All that matters is your own pay "classification":

1) If you are an hourly employee, you must be paid for all hours worked--i.e. for all  work your employer directs you to do, no matter who the work is for. You must also be paid overtime for hours worked over 40 in a week, as applicable.

2) If you are salaried and exempt from overtime, your employer may make you work any number of hours, for any entity, without additional pay.

3) If you are salaried but not exempt from overtime, then you should get additional compensation for hours worked past 40 in a week; but for hours under 40, it doesn't matter what entity you're doing the work for.

As you can tell from the above, not all salaried employees are necessarily exempt from overtime; to be exempt, the employee's duties or responsibilities must also pass certain tests, which you can find at the federal Department of Labor website. If  you are an hourly employee, or believe you are salaried but not exempt from overtime, you may have a claim for additional compensation and should speak with an employment law attorney. Good luck.


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