If Iam 58 years old and have several health problems, can my employer make me work more than 40 hours a week?

UPDATED: Jan 6, 2012

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If Iam 58 years old and have several health problems, can my employer make me work more than 40 hours a week?

I know that I cannot work more than 40 hours a week without extreme exhaustion. I am not in good health but it seems not to matter. I know my limitations. Can I be fired because of this?

Asked on January 6, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you most likely could be fired if you don't work as much as  your employer wants. In the absence of a contract (including a union agreement) setting or limiting your hours, your employer can require you to work *any* number of hours it wishes you too, subject only to its obligations to pay you for all hours worked, if you are hourly, and to pay overtime if applicable, if you are a non-exempt employee.

If you have an actual "disability," then it may be the case that the employer has to accomodate you in terms of hours, if it is reasonable for the employer to do so. However, general bad health or several minor conditions do not constitute a disability; a disability is serious condition with significant impacts on your ability to work and/or do the normal functions of life, which cannot be alleviated by diet, exercise, and/or medicine. (Think of blindness, a paralyzed limb, epilepsy, some neulogical disease/issues, etc. in terms of what might be a disability.) If you believe you may have a disability, you should consult with an employment law attorney to explore your possible rights further; but if you "merely" have several health problems that cause a lack of endurance, then it is likely that your employer can require you to work more than you feel comfortable doing.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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