Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Forced overtime in Massachusetts

Collapse
This topic is closed.
X
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Forced overtime in Massachusetts

    I work in the warehouse section of a greeting card company in Massachusetts. This doesn't happen often, but on August 26 (a Saturday) it is mandatory for all warehouse employees to work that day. That's fine, I don't mind, we're being paid overtime. However, in a meeting today we were told that if the work on Saturday wasn't completed we would have to come in on Sunday as well to finish. We weren't told if coming in on Sunday would be mandatory, but if it is, is it legal for them to force us to work on Sunday? Making the week a seven-day work week?

    My mother (I'm 19) told me they can do this as long is it isn't every week, but I have a hard time believing that. If I'm forced to work on Sunday as well that would mean I would be working 12 days in a row with no day of rest in between.

    Any information on this would be very helpful, and if possible, could you provide links stating policies on these actions?

  • #2
    MA does indeed have a day of rest requirement that requires rest for one in every seven days (c.149, sec.48).

    MA also has laws prohibiting businesses from being open on Sunday (known as the Blue Laws), with some exceptions - 55 of them are listed in MA Gen. Law, chapter 136, section 6 (here's a link: http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/136-6.htm). You'd need to take a look at the exceptions and see if your company fits in.

    Section (28) excludes the retail sale of greeting cards, but your question concerns the wholesale side, for which there is no explicit exception. There are emergency exceptions and permissions which can be granted by the Attorney General, but you didnít list anything like that.

    There are other exceptions, for janitors and other types of labor (c.149, sec.48). But, when these apply, c.149, sec. 51 provides that, "Before operating on Sunday, every employer subject to section forty-eight or fifty A shall post in a conspicuous place on the premises a schedule containing a list of his employees who are required or allowed to work on Sunday, and designating the day of rest for each. No employee shall be required or allowed to work on the day of rest designated for him."

    Bottom line, it is unlikely that you can be required to work 7 days a week.

    Hope that gives you a start to your research.
    This post is by Philip Gordon, a Massachusetts employment attorney (www.gordonllp.com).

    This post is NOT legal advice. It is for general/educational information purposes only. You should not rely on this post if you are making decisions, and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. This post may be considered "advertising" under the MA professional rules for attorneys.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thank you for your response.

      Do you know of link that would take me to where it states the day of rest requirement? I would just like to print it out.

      I did read the blue laws and I didn't see any exceptions that my company would fall under. However my mother says that only pertains to businesses, not their employees. I should clarify that though my mother isn't an attorney she knows quite a bit about law, so I tend to believe whatever she says regarding laws, which is why I asked this question to begin with. I'm truly hoping she's wrong.

      Comment


      • #4
        This link has a pretty good information. You might find this useful.

        http://www.whoi.edu/services/HR/supervis/aim.htm

        Comment


        • #5
          Robb71, Thanks for posting the AIM information. Indeed, they are a great source.

          The day of rest statute is ch. 149, sec. 48. Here's a link: http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/149-48.htm

          I'm a little confused by your mother's interpretation of the Blue Laws.

          The Blue Laws are designed to protect employees from working on Sundays. They effect businesses, because without employees, companies can't be open. There are many exceptions and limitations to the rules, but the reason for prohibiting business openings on Sundays was to allow employees the day off. As an example, ch.149, sec.45 allows manufacturers to stay open on legal holidays but adds that non-exempt employees cannot be required to work on those days, but instead must be given the option to work or not.

          But, I learned a long time ago never to question Mom, so perhaps you could explain what she means.

          .
          This post is by Philip Gordon, a Massachusetts employment attorney (www.gordonllp.com).

          This post is NOT legal advice. It is for general/educational information purposes only. You should not rely on this post if you are making decisions, and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. This post may be considered "advertising" under the MA professional rules for attorneys.

          Comment


          • #6
            I honestly don't know what she means either, because from the information you've both provided she's not correct. If there were any changes to the Blue Laws in the past few years it could be that she's unaware of them.

            This answers my question:

            "Employers are generally free to set whatever hours of work they wish for employees. However, every employee in manufacturing, mechanical, or mercantile establishments must be given an unbroken 24-hour period of rest in every consecutive seven days of work, which effectively means after six days (M.G.L. c. 149ß48)."

            Like I said in my original message, she told me that this only applies if the company does it on a constant basis. But that doesn't make any sense to me, so either she didn't full understand what I was talking about in our conversation, or I misinterpreted her.

            But anyway, back to subject at hand. So, it's correct to say that my company cannot force me to work this Sunday? And if my refusal results in my employment being terminated will I have any legal options?

            Comment


            • #7
              Unfortunately, I can't answer that question here (see the disclaimer below my signature). You'll need to ask your attorney for that advice.

              I really hate to pass on your question like that, but the law requires that I can't give "actionable" advice on this type of message board unless you're my client (we'd go through the conflicts check, intake review and discussions of expectations, with an engagement letter, etc.). This message board must really be used just for convenience and casual conversation - not legal advice. That's why I have to put that disclaimer below my signature.

              But hopefully, you found the discussion thoughtful. Sorry we can't do more.

              Phil
              This post is by Philip Gordon, a Massachusetts employment attorney (www.gordonllp.com).

              This post is NOT legal advice. It is for general/educational information purposes only. You should not rely on this post if you are making decisions, and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. This post may be considered "advertising" under the MA professional rules for attorneys.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by CompensationCounsel
                That's why I have to put that disclaimer below my signature.
                Phil
                Um, Phil, I know you USED to have one, but I don't see one now.
                I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Phil, I tried to respond to your PM but your box is full.

                  I cannot see your signature line in this thread. I can in your others; also it appeared in your PM.
                  The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks. I've emptied out a bunch of messages from my mailbox. Glad to know this is the only thread.
                    This post is by Philip Gordon, a Massachusetts employment attorney (www.gordonllp.com).

                    This post is NOT legal advice. It is for general/educational information purposes only. You should not rely on this post if you are making decisions, and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. This post may be considered "advertising" under the MA professional rules for attorneys.

                    Comment

                    Working...
                    X