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

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 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.


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