What is illegal in regards to a company attempting to get rid of people who it simplydoesn’t like?

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What is illegal in regards to a company attempting to get rid of people who it simplydoesn’t like?

The company has people that they simply don’t like, and seems to be making life extremely difficult for those people. At times, certain employees are expected to work 12-16 hour days, roughly 5-7 days per week, and are not given overtime pay. Unfortunately, these people are on salary. Is any of this illegal or unethical?

Asked on January 22, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A company can pretty much hire and fire as it pleases.  The fact is that employment relationships are what is known as "at will", and OH is no exception.  What this means is that basically an employer can hire or fire someone for any reason or no reason at all.  It can also increase/decrease salary/hours, promote/demote, and generally impose requirements as they see fit.  In turn, an employee can choose to work for an employer or not.  Exceptions to this would be if there company policy contrary, or there is a union/employment agreement that does not allow for such action, or this situation has arisen due to some type of discrimination (i.e., for reasons due to your race, religion, age, disability, sex, national origin). 

Yet just because someone is a salaried doesn't necessarily mean that they are "exempt" from certain labor laws.  Being paid on a salary basis is just part of the test for determing exemption, but it's not the only element.  It is possible to be salaried and to get overtime.  Basically, exempt employees are: Management (ie you supervise other people); Professionals (your job requires advanced or technical training - engineers, accountants, lawyers, etc); Administrators (if you exercise considerable discretion in how you carry out your duties). If the your job meets these criteria then you are in fact an exempt employee and there is no upper limit in how many hours you can be required to work.  However, if these criteria do not describe your job duties, then you are a non-exempt employee and entitled for overtime for any hours that you work over 40 per week.

Note:  At this point you should go to the your state's or the Department of Labor's website and check to see whether or not you are an "exempt" or "non-exempt" employee.


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