If I am a salaried employee, can I be made to work additional hours?

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If I am a salaried employee, can I be made to work additional hours?

I am a salaried catering marketing rep for a restaurant chain. I have always worked until 4 to 5 pm except for periodic special events. The company has an employee who takes catering orders until 4:30 pm on weekdays. The calls are routed directly to the stores from 4:30 to 7:30 pm. I have just been advised that the company will start routing all catering calls to the marketing reps cell phones from 4:30 to 7:30 pm on weekdays. I will be required to handle the calls one week out of every three on a rotating basis with the other two marketing reps. I have a 2 year old child and am pregnant. Can they force me to work these extra hours? There is no extra pay but I am more concerned with the invasion of my family time.

Asked on April 30, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you do not have an employment contract which specifies your hours or shifts, your employer can make any employee work additional hours. (If you do have such a contract, it's terms are enforceable.) If you were an hourly worker, you'd of course need to be paid for any additional hours worked, including overtime when working more than 40 hours in a workweek. As a salaried worker, it's slightly more complex:

1) If you are salaried and exempt from overtime, you can be made to work any number of additional hours without any extra compensation whatsoever.

2) If you are salaried but not exempt from overtime, you would need to be paid additional compensation when you work more than 40 hours in a workweek.

Not all salaried staff are exempt from overtime: to be exempt, not only must you paid on a salary basis, but your job duties (not title--your actual responsibilities) must meet one or another of the tests for exemption. The main ones are the executive (or managerial) test, the administrative test (for administrative staff with considerable discretion or authority), and the professional (e.g. accountants, engineers, some high level computer staff, etc.)  test. You can find these tests on the U.S. Department of Labor website, under wages and overtime.

You should compare your job responsibilities to the various exemption tests. If you clearly are exempt, you are not entitled to any extra compensation. If, however, you do not appear to be exempt and work more than 40 hours in a week, you may have a claim for overtime; in that instance, you may wish to consult with an employment law attorney or contact your state department of labor.


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