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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2019
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    1

    Default Number of Days/Hours Worked and Short Notice Schedule

    My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: North Carolina

    I work in NC but my employer is based in PA. I am salaried employee.

    My first year worked my employer made it mandatory we work weekends. Not only did we work weekends but they would not give us days off. I worked 3 straight weeks, had illness and returned to work 3 days later to work another two straight weeks. Out of some of these days I worked several long hour days, one day was a full 24 hours. There have been several times where I have worked at least 16 straight hours. We donít have scheduled breaks mainly because our job is basically sitting around waiting for other people to finish their work. My question is working this much legal... and without compensation regardless of salary?? Iíve been with the company 5 years and they had stopped that practice, probably to my assumption there was a class action lawsuit against my employer. I did not join. Now I think they are trying to bring back mandatory weekends. I sent an email refusing to work weekends, can I be terminated for this?

    Also I was hired to work in sc and nc. My schedules are never consistent and usually short notice. Max notice I get is 3 days if Iím lucky. As of recently they have been sending me to other states with very short notice leaving me 1-2 days to prepare. Iíve also been asked to cancel my pto in order to fly to other states for work. My mental health and physical health I feel like is deteriorating quickly but I have no option to but to work due one income household and medics bills. I feel like Iím running out of options.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    1,324

    Default Re: Number of Days/Hours Worked and Short Notice Schedule

    Quote Quoting Lmbronco
    View Post
    can I be terminated for this?
    You can be terminated even if you didn't send the email.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    19,000

    Default Re: Number of Days/Hours Worked and Short Notice Schedule

    First off in NC (which is the operative jurisdiction) and federally, barring some employment contract to the contrary, the employer can make arbitrary demands as to when and how an employee works. He's free to fire you for just about any reason and you're free to quit if the situation is unreasonable to you.

    "Salary" is not the deciding factor here. If your job duties are such that you fall into the definition of an exempt employee, they don't have to pay you any extra for being asked to work long hours (on the other hand, short of firing you, they can't dock you either). If you are non-exempt, then they must pay you for every hour worked and overtime for that over 40 (neither NC nor Federal law gives a premium for long days or weekends).

    Here's an article describign the difference between exempt and non-exempt: https://www.thebalancecareers.com/ex...ployee-2061988

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,531

    Default Re: Number of Days/Hours Worked and Short Notice Schedule

    The only issue I see as concern is:

    if you are properly classified as exempt, there is no requirement you be paid overtime for hours worked exceeding 40 per week. If you are improperly being treated as exempt, you would be due an adjustment to your pay for hours worked in excess of 40 per week.


    Regarding your schedule; your employer has absolute control over what days and hours you work. In other words; yes they can mandate you work weekends and the absolutely have the right to terminate you, for cause, if you refuse to work weekends.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    15,273

    Default Re: Number of Days/Hours Worked and Short Notice Schedule

    You also can look for another job. I certainly would consider doing that if I were in your shoes.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    23,893

    Default Re: Number of Days/Hours Worked and Short Notice Schedule

    What j/k said. There are only two states that limit the number of hours an employee can be required to work in a week and NC is neither of them. A very small handful require one day off in a week but NC does not. In NC and in a frightening number of other states, you could be required to work 168 hours in a week and as long as you were paid properly it would not violate any laws. Neither NC nor Federal law requires any breaks at all.

    If you are properly classified as exempt, there are no circumstances whatsoever under which the law requires you to be paid a single penny over and above your salary. If you are salaried non-exempt, you have to be paid overtime for any hours over 40 in a week. We have nothing like enough information to say if you are classified correctly.

    DISCLAIMER: I am telling you what the law says. Do not take this as my approval of the employer's position. I do not approve. I do not, however, write the laws - I only tell you what they say.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    19,000

    Default Re: Number of Days/Hours Worked and Short Notice Schedule

    ...provided you are over 16.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    23,893

    Default Re: Number of Days/Hours Worked and Short Notice Schedule

    Oh, and I forgot to mention:

    Yes, you can be terminated for refusing to work weekends unless you have a legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA that expressly says otherwise. Mandatory overtime is legal in all 50 states.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    1,135

    Default Re: Number of Days/Hours Worked and Short Notice Schedule

    Quote: ".....probably to my assumption there was a class action lawsuit against my employer."

    I would suspect not, actually. There are quite a number of employers who will take advantage of this particular thing, that they can ask you to work any darn hours they want to as long as they pay you correctly. The only thing that restricts them from doing it is that in many cases, especially in times like this of labor shortages, they can't find enough good people who are willing to do this kind of terrible schedule. Famously in the construction industry these employers have a policy that you work the way we work till you can't take it anymore, and then you quit. Bye. Come back again when you're desperate, we'll let you continue to work yourself to death at our convenience. The problem with this is that unless other jobs are really hard to find, the best people who can will leave.

    From the sound of it, you're not really having to do anything strenuous by having to work all these hours, you're not doing anything where loss of awareness or fatigue would lead to really unsafe working conditions, so even an OSHA violation isn't going to be a possible issue.

    And if you are fired (quite legally) for refusing overtime, you will be unlikely to qualify for unemployment insurance, either. If you quit, make sure you have requested less overtime as often as possible before you quit, have tried to work the situation out before leaving. Or that you have another job already lined up.

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