Can My Employer Force Me to Work Overtime?

Mandatory overtime laws are not covered in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) which was enacted to provide standards for minimum wage and overtime pay. Mandatory overtime laws and regulations do, however, exist in some states to protect employees in certain fields from mandatory overtime. According to FLSA FairPay Overtime Rules certain employers must pay covered employees at least the federal minimum wage as well as time and a half for each hour of overtime.

  • Under the FLSA guidelines, “overtime” is defined as hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek.
  • Exempt employees are determined by their duties and salary, not by job titles.
    FLSA does NOT regulate forced overtime, so unless you live in a state that regulates mandatory overtime, your employer is likely able to set whatever work schedule it desires.
  • States which have state overtime laws or regulations that in some situations limit mandatory overtime include the following: AK, CT, IL, MD, MN, NJ, NH, NY, OR, PA, RI, TX, WA, WV, CA, and MO
  • If you live in one of the above states and have been required to work overtime, please fill out our Case Evaluation Form as completely as possible so we can help you determine if you have a viable case.

Exempt / Non-exempt Employees

Private industries which produce an annual business volume in excess of $500,000 are required to follow FLSA while enterprises with less than $500,000 in annual volume of business are exempt from the FLSA overtime laws (although certain individual employees may still be covered), as are salaried executives, professionals, and commissioned sales personnel. The FLSA also applies to health care services, schools and federal, state and local government regardless of their annual business volume.

Some states now have mandatory overtime laws for specific jobs. For instance, mandatory overtime for nurses has led to a shortage of RN’s because of job dissatisfaction due to the long hours as well as to an increase in medical errors that occur as a result of forcing fatigued nurses to work long and even double shifts, causing several states to pass laws to address this problem.

FLSA Class Action Suits regarding FLSA Growing Each Year

A class action lawsuit, also referred to as a collective action, is a form of a lawsuit in which a large group of people collectively bring a claim to court.One example of a class action overtime lawsuit can be seen in an Illinois case entitled Brown v. Lululemon Athletic Inc. which was filed in the District Court for Northern District Illinois, as Illinois is one of the states which has passed mandatory overtime laws. The plaintiffs are alleging that their employer, Lululemon Athletic Inc., required them to engage in work related activities including mandatory 2 hour staff monthly staff meetings, viewing inspirational DVD’s from their home, and taking of exercise classes off the clock without paying them for the time which was often in excess of 40 hours per week when included.

If Brown can prove that the employer compelled them to engage in these activities and these activities had an integral connection to their work, there could be a liability, especially if it can be shown that the plaintiffs reasonably feared their jobs were in jeopardy if they didn’t comply.

If you have been a victim of an FLSA violation similar to one discussed here, contact the Lore Law Firm today. They have been protecting employee’s overtime rights for more than a decade and their overtime attorneys are experts in mandatory overtime laws. Time limits apply to all potential claims of this nature; therefore, prompt action is advised.