Is it legal for an employer to force an employee to work over time once the employee’s shift has started?

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Is it legal for an employer to force an employee to work over time once the employee’s shift has started?

Asked on June 12, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Yes it is. That is unless there is a union agreement or employment contract that states otherwise. The fact is that an employer can set the terms and conditions of the workplace as it sees fit ( his is called "at will" employment). This includes requiring an employee to work overtime, even if notice is given after their shift has started. The only other exception to the foregoing would be if there is some form of actionable discrimination taking place. Absent that, the employee can either work the overtime, get fired or quit.

Note: If the employee is non-exempt, they may be eligible for overtime pay.


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