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Can You Be Forced to Work Overtime in Ohio?


As an employee, there may be times when your employer will require you to work mandatory or completely unscheduled overtime. This may leave you with questions about the legality of forcing employees to work overtime – especially when it feels extremely inconvenient and time-consuming.

Below, our Columbus Ohio overtime attorneys answer several questions related to mandatory overtime in Ohio and what that means for you as an employee.

Is it Illegal to Force Someone to Work Overtime?

It is not illegal to require employees to work overtime.  As per federal and state law, employers are able to require employees to work mandatory overtime.

But the same laws that allow employers to require overtime also require them to pay their employees at least 1 and a half times their wage rate for “hours worked in excess of forty hours in one workweek”, as defined in Section 4111.03 of the Ohio Revised Code.

Can You be Forced to Work Overtime in Ohio?

Yes, you can be forced to work overtime in Ohio.

As mentioned above, employers are legally allowed to require overtime. But they are also required to provide you with overtime pay for any overtime that you do work. Can a company force you to work overtime?

There are some exemptions to the requirement of overtime pay, such as employers who do not take in under $150,000 annually in gross revenue and certain categories of employees like:

  • Babysitters
  • Federal employees (i.e. US government employees)
  • Live-in companions that care for the sick or elderly
  • Newspaper delivery persons
  • Students who work for the government, either part-time or on a seasonal basis

Note: This is not an exhaustive list.

The FLSA also has its own overtime exemptions for employees who are outside sales, professional, computer, and administrative. If you have questions about whether you are exempt from overtime, contact our Ohio overtime lawyers.

Is Overtime Pay Protected by the FLSA?

Overtime pay is a provision under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) at the federal level that requires employees (unless they are exempt) to receive overtime pay for any hours worked over the standard 40-hour workweek.

The FLSA overtime pay provisions can be a bit complex, but they offer employees a number of protections in relation to overtime and list out the requirements for overtime pay.

Some of those requirements include:

  • Employees must receive overtime pay for hours “worked in excess of 40 in a workweek”
  • Overtime pay must be “computed on the basis of the average hourly rate derived from” an employee’s earnings
  • The FLSA will be applied on a workweek basis and hours cannot be averaged over two or more weeks

The FLSA also details who is exempt and non-exempt.

If you are dealing with unpaid overtime, reach out to the Columbus overtime attorneys at Coffman Legal, LLC. We can apply multi-factor tests to your job to determine if you are actually exempt from overtime or if you are being denied overtime unfairly.

Can I Refuse to Work Overtime?

You do have the right to refuse to work overtime. This does not mean that you may not face disciplinary action though, as your employer does have the right to require overtime.

If working overtime is a concern for you as you start a new job, consider trying to negotiate for overtime provisions to be added to your employment contract. This is something that our Columbus Ohio overtime lawyers can assist with and give you guidance on.

Can You Get Fired for Refusing to Work Overtime in Ohio?

In Ohio, and in many other states, employment is “at will.” This essentially means that either you as the employee or your employer are able to terminate your employment at any time, for any reason.

So yes, you can be fired for refusing to work overtime in Ohio.

Since employers are legally able to require overtime, a refusal to work overtime can be a reason to fire an employee – as long as there are no illegal reasons for termination such as discrimination based on race, gender, disability, and other protected characteristics, retaliation, and other protected elements. Contact our Ohio overtime lawyers if you believe that you might have experienced retaliation.

Facing Overtime Issues? Connect with Our Columbus Overtime Attorneys

Here at Coffman Legal, LLC, our team of experienced Columbus overtime attorneys is here to help you handle any issues related to overtime – such as unpaid overtime, and further understand your rights in relation to overtime as an employee.

We have experience in working with individual clients and filing collective action lawsuits against employers in relation to unpaid overtime.

You can schedule a free consultation without Ohio overtime lawyers today online or over the phone at 614-949-1181.


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