In New York, your employer can require you to work overtime and can fire you if you refuse.  They may require that you work more than 8 hours in a day, and they may require that you work more than 40 hours in a week.  They may also require that you work any shift and any hours during the day or night.

There are some exceptions.

First, these laws apply only to employees over the age of 18.  The law limits both the number of hours and the time of day in which younger people may be required to work.

Second, some types of employees must be given at least one 24-hour break during each calendar week.  Employees who must be given a 24-hour break include factory workers, security guards, elevator operators, retail staff, certain hotel employees, and janitorial staff.

Of course, your employer must pay a premium for your overtime work.  Unless you are exempt from the overtime laws, you must be paid one and one-half times your usual wage rate for all hours you work in excess of 40 hours per week.

The law protects you if you are not being paid overtime rates for your overtime work.

An employer who fails to pay overtime rates for overtime work can be ordered to pay the overtime wages you should have been paid, plus interest and attorney’s fees.  You may also be awarded an additional amount of “liquidated damages.”  Liquidated damages allow you to double the amount of unpaid overtime wages your employer owes you.

The law also protects you from retaliation.  If you have been fired because you asked to be paid for overtime, then a court may order your employer to re-hire you and pay you all the overtime compensation you should have been paid, plus the compensation you lost because you were fired, plus interest or liquidated damages, plus attorneys’ fees.  Your employer could also be prosecuted criminally and fined up to $10,000.

If you are not being paid the overtime rates you deserve – or if you have been fired because you asked to be paid for overtime -- call us at (212) 601-2728 for a free and confidential consultation.