Can your employer discipline you for refusing overtime?

On Behalf of | Jun 28, 2022 | Employment Law

There are laws at the federal level that protect workers from mistreatment by employers, and California also has numerous state laws that expand on those federal protections. The right to overtime pay helps ensure that workers who have to put in more than the typical 40 hours expected in a week can receive adequate compensation for the excess work and strain on their bodies.

Some employees are enthusiastic about overtime pay because they want more income, and some companies are quite strict about refusing overtime scheduling for their workers. The inverse is also true. There are many workers who do not want to put in overtime hours and many companies that need overtime labor.

Can your California employer mandate overtime on the weekends or after your shift should end?

Yes, employers ultimately control the schedule

While employers have to pay you appropriately for the work that you do, they can also decide when and how much they want you to work. You must comply with the schedule that they impose on you or risk disciplinary action.

California state law and federal laws allow employers to mandate overtime and to punish workers who refuse those overtime shifts. Whether you already had a camping trip planned for the weekend or want to make it in time for your daughter’s softball game, if the company scheduled you for overtime, your boss might write you up or even fire you if you don’t work.

California state law does include an exception

The good news for those subject to very demanding work schedules is that there is a limit to how much your employer can force you to work. State law does not allow employers to force you to work seven days without a break.

You are allowed at least one day of rest at least every seventh day. You can voluntarily waive that day of rest and collect overtime wages, or you can refuse to work on the seventh day. Your employer will not be able to take disciplinary action against you in that situation, and if they do, you will be able to fight back.

Understanding what employment laws in California say about overtime can help you avoid job consequences caused by your outside obligations.