Employment termination can be a slippery slope. One of the more confusing situations can arise when an employer asks an employee to work overtime. If you are an employee and you refuse to work overtime, it’s important to recognize what issues you may encounter.
A refusal to work overtime hours upon request can create some tension in the workplace, but is termination a legal reaction? Here are some of the important facts you need to know about your rights if you refuse to work overtime.
Employers Can Fire You for Refusing to Work Overtime
Because California is an at-will employment state, they may fire you for refusing to work overtime. An employer may require overtime in certain circumstances, and when you refuse to work, they can terminate your contract without it being considered discrimination.
The Exceptions You Should Know About
While your employer—in most situations—can fire you for refusing to work overtime, there are some exceptions. Because you may encounter one of these exceptions, it helps you to know them, so you can protect your rights if a problem ever arises.
Here’s when you can refuse to work overtime without being fired:
- If your contract gives you the right to refuse overtime and your employer would be in violation for firing you for refusing
- If your overtime hours would create an unhealthy or unsafe work environment for you (e.g., such as if you work a strenuous job)
- If your employer is not paying you properly for the overtime you already work under state and federal law
- If your schedule requires you to work six days in a row for your current week
It’s important to know your rights. Unfortunately, some employers try to enforce power when they are not allowed to, and it can lead to serious problems. Our Orange County employment lawyers at Aegis Law Firm are here to work with you through the process and protect your rights. Let us go above and beyond on your behalf.