Is it illegal to be fired for not wanting to work overtime?

UPDATED: Mar 10, 2012

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Is it illegal to be fired for not wanting to work overtime?

My boss threatened to terminate me because I did not want to work a 14 hour shift and I already have a 48 hour week.

Asked on March 10, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, no, it is not illegal. Employers can require employees to work overtime--the employee does not have any say in the matter, unless there is an employment contract (or union agreement) limiting or specifying hours or shifts, or otherwise giving the employee some right to refuse overtime. The only overtime protection provided by law is that if you are not exempt from overtime (and if you are an hourl employee, you are almost certainly not exempt), you must be paid time-and-a-half for all hours worked past 40 in a workweek--though if you are exempt from overtime, you can be made to work the extra hours without any additional compensation.

Since an employer has a right, barring a contract to the contrary, to require you to work overtime, the employer may terminate you if you refuse.

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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