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Thread: Working 23 hrs straight...is it legal?

  1. #1
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    Default Working 23 hrs straight...is it legal?

    Hello,

    My husbands employer failed to inform him of certain requirements during the hiring process. Requirements such as; he could be required to work up to 24 hours straight with only 10 hours off before he'd have to return to work. He's required to work sick and was threatened to be fired if he left the shop because he wasn't feeling well...(he ended up being sent home after his supervisor saw him vomit on the job but his Manager threatened to fire him because he asked to go home due to not feeling well, which was due to his manager working him for 23 hrs straight two days prior). I'm just wanting to know if what his manager is doing is legal, and was it legal for the employer to purposely keep that information from my husband during the hiring process? I always thought the employer was required to tell their potential employee's the requirements of the job.

  2. #2
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    You did not note what your husband does for a living. However, with limited exceptions (airline pilot, long haul trucking, minor child) an employer can require an employee to work as many or as few hours as they require.

    While this may not be a wise action on the part of your husband's employer, given the information you posted, your husband's employer is doing nothing illegal.

    There are no laws requiring an employer to tell an employee of the requirements of a job, to my knowledge. Nor are there laws against managers being jerks. Your husband may want to look for other employment, and if so, he should not quit until he's gotten another job.
    Last edited by lolcat; 09-30-2011 at 01:33 PM.

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    He is a diesel mechanic, who works on diesel engines for semi trucks, and drilling equipment. His company is all about safety in the work place, it just seems ironic that although they say they care about safety, they actually don't care about their employees safety when it comes to allowing them ample time to recover from working 23 hours straight with only 1 hr break in there somewhere. Also another thing, there was a piece of equipment that he had red taged (ie meaning it was not ready or safe) to go out. His manager tore the tag off and sent it out anyway. My husband said he refused to sign off on it because he wouldn't be liable for sending something out that could potentially harm someone because it wasn't completely repaired.

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    This is in the state of Pennsylvania BTW lol. if that helps any?

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    No laws prevent your husband's employer from working 23 hours straight. It's clearly a bad business decision as anyone working that kind of schedule is simply not going to be as attentive to their safety or the quality of their work but that's not illegal.

    I suggest your husband start looking for a new job. Clearly his employer only gives lip service to safety - their employees and the drivers.

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    Thank you. He is looking for another job, but unfortunately he signed a contract during the hiring process stating he wouldn't quit within a years time of being employed with the company otherwise if he did, he'd have to pay the Relocation money back to the company. I think they did that on purpose so they could guarantee to get work out of him for that years time. This company is nothing of what they promised and everything that we feared. There is no communication between management and shop crews. They all just got reamed from the shop manager today for not being efficient enough in their work, when the shop crew isn't being told what needs to be done. Ugg! It's a mess. No one knows how to do their job if their title has manager in it. My husband was in the Marine Corp for 8 years as a Mechanic. He also managed 150+ troops. He knows what needs to be done, has offered advice, but they don't listen.

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    If an employer pays to relocate someone, it's not uncommon for the employer to ask the employee to sign an agreement that the relocation assistance will be repaid if the individual quits within "X" amount of time. The same is true of companies who provide tuition assistance.

    If management are a bunch of jerks and treat the employees badly, that's awful but it's not illegal. Your husband's options are to stick out the 12 months and then quit asap or quit if he finds a job sooner and see if the company comes after him for repayment. (Sounds likely that they will do this.) Sorry - there just aren't any other options.

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    Not listening is often a recurring theme with employers. Beth is absolutely correct, there is no law stopping them from making him work 23 hours straight.

    I once worked for a place where I was on for 48 hours straight. Let me tell you, I was wrecked at the end! I never did it again.

    Is this something that they are requiring him to do regularly, or have they stated that it is simply a possibility?

    Relocation expenses can be steep! I have heard stories of relocation's running into the 6 digits figures! Yikes. Good luck!
    Not everything in America is actionable in a court of law. Please remember that attorneys are in business for profit, and they get paid regardless of whether or not you win or lose.

    I offer my knowledge and experience at no charge, I admit that I am NOT infallible, I am wrong sometimes, hopefully another responder will correct me if that is the case with the answer above, regardless, it is your responsibility to verify any and all information provided.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CatBert View Post
    Not listening is often a recurring theme with employers. Beth is absolutely correct, there is no law stopping them from making him work 23 hours straight.

    I once worked for a place where I was on for 48 hours straight. Let me tell you, I was wrecked at the end! I never did it again.

    Is this something that they are requiring him to do regularly, or have they stated that it is simply a possibility?

    Relocation expenses can be steep! I have heard stories of relocation's running into the 6 digits figures! Yikes. Good luck!
    He's worked over 20 hrs quite a few times in the almost two months he's been there. The problem with this company is that 90% or more of the shop crew members are single and don't have any children. The company is all about money it seems; if there's a problem they throw money at it instead of trying to remedy the problem. My husband hadn't even been working for a day when they suddenly shipped him off to another state for his orientation and training for two weeks! They told him he'd be flying out the next day. They provided transportation to the airport but failed to pick him up from the airport (when he was told they would pick him up) to which I had to go and get him after he waited for 4 hrs for someone from the company to pick him up. The communication (or lack of), logistics (lack of), and all around efficiency of this company are horrible. He's/we are going to be totally miserable for the next 10 months. They have lockout and tag-out's for equipment and my husband had tagged out a piece of equipment showing it needed more work and was not ready to go back into the field, and his manager took the tag off and sent it out anyway! This company is not providing safe working conditions (i.e. hours working their employees, sending equipment out that isn't completely repaired and just an all around lack of know how and responsibility) and is going to get someone killed one of these days. I just wish we had a legal leg to stand on in order to allow my husband to get out before he get's killed without having to pay that darn relocation money back. Any suggestions?

  10. #10
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    Any details that might provide an "out" would be in your husband's contract or the papers he signed.

    You could take those papers to an employment law attorney and see what they think.

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