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Termination for Not Working Overtime


On March 8, 2008 we issued our first Can They do That? Our goal, then and now, has been to educate employees and their attorneys regarding employee rights in the work place. We hope you have found these articles informative. They are available on our website for review (www.hayberlawfirm.com/cantheydothat.html.)
For our centennial edition, we answer one of the most frequent questions we have gotten recently:
Can my employer fire me for not working overtime? I read somewhere that 40 hours is the “maximum work week.”  
It depends. If you are a “non-exempt” (meaning overtime eligible or “hourly” worker), then it is permissible for your employer to make you work overtime, so long as they pay you properly. They owe you one and one half times your regular rate.
If you are an “exempt” worker (meaning not entitled to overtime), then your employer can make you work more than 40 and need not pay you any overtime pay at all. Be careful about this. Don’t assume that you are “exempt” just because your employer says you are. Many employees are misclassified as exempt, including retail assistant managers, pharmaceutical reps, mortgage loan underwriters, automobile damage appraisers, and more. It must be the case that your primary duty is exempt work. If most of your day is spent doing hourly type work, then you might not be “exempt” and you might be entitled to back overtime pay.
There are exceptions to these general rules. In Connecticut, you are entitled to one day off each calendar week. Also, you can’t be forced to work so many hours that your salary, when divided by the number of hours you work is below the minimum wage. Also, salaried workers must make at least $475 per week to be considered exempt.
The phrase “maximum work week” is a bit misleading. It simply refers to the number of hours after which overtime pay kicks in.