State and federal employment regulations define which employees are entitled to overtime pay, and which are not. If an employee is classified as qualifying for overtime work, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires their employer to pay an overtime rate of 1.5 times their usual payment (“time and a half”).
Although compensating for overtime pay is required for many employees, some businesses will do whatever they can to prevent their employees from working overtime. So, even if a worker is legally entitled to overtime pay, a company’s own policies may prohibit overtime work. This may be done by establishing hour limits or specific clock in and clock out times. In some cases, employers may require overtime hours to be preapproved.
Some employers may take overtime limits a step further by actually punishing employees for working overtime. Sadly, this can sometimes include termination. It is important to note that regardless of an employer’s overtime policies, if a nonexempt employee works overtime hours, the employer must pay for the overtime worked.
Upon employment, many workers are required to sign an agreement that confirms they are an at-will employee. Under an at-will employment agreement, employers can fire their workers without warning, and for nearly any reason (outside of outright illegal reasons, like discrimination).
So yes, an employee can, in some cases, be fired for working overtime. If an employee does work overtime against their employers wishes, he/she legally has to be compensated for the hours worked, but the employee can be terminated afterward if company policy prohibits it.
An employer can also, under the Fair Labor Standards Act, fire you for not working overtime if they ask. The federal law states that employees must be paid for working overtime, but does not put a cap on the number of hours an employee can work in a day or week. An employer however, cannot terminate you for making a complaint about overtime pay.
Our team of experienced employment attorneys at Donati Law, PLLC are dedicated to defending workers’ rights. If you have questions about overtime pay or believe you have been subjected to discrimination or retaliation after making a complaint about overtime, contact our wage and hour attorneys today. Send us a message or call (901) 209-5500 for a no-cost case evaluation.