Is it legal for my employer to require me to work on their personal property?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is it legal for my employer to require me to work on their personal property?

I work at a saw mill but my employer is telling us that we’ll be working in the hay fields around his

home. Is this legal? I haven’t seen anything in the employee handbook about this and he’s threatening to fire anyone that doesn’t go.

Asked on June 9, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Actually, this is legal so long as the work in question does not present a safety or health hazard to the employee. The fact is that a company can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit. Therefore, unless this action violates company policy, a union agreement or employment contract, it is legal. Also, the employee's treatment must not constitute any form of legally actionable discrimination. Absent that, you can be required to work on your employer's personal property. That having been said, if you are an exempt employee and this works puts you over 40 hours in your workweek, you are entitled to overtime pay.

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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