West Virginia is an employment-at-will state. This means that your employer can fire you for any reason-whether it's good or bad, fair or unfair-as long as the reason is not discriminatory towards any individual with protected status. This includes refusing to work overtime hours.
Under Federal law, there is not a ceiling for maximum hours that can be required or worked in a workweek as long as the employee is over age 16 and is being paid appropriately for the hours worked. That means your employer could require you to work 60-hour weeks on a regular basis and fire you if you don't, as long as you are getting paid appropriately.
The full-time workweek is federally recognized as 40 hours, and federal labor laws mandate that hourly employees who work more than that in a 7-day time period should receive time and a half at the least. However, these standards only apply if your position or your employer fall under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
You are also not eligible for overtime pay simply for working on a Saturday, Sunday or just your usual day off. In order to qualify, you must have already worked more than 40 hours in a fixed 7-day period.
If you are part of a union or your employment falls under a collective bargaining agreement, your employment terms may be different, and you should review your contract to determine if you are required to work requested overtime.
If you have been the target of workplace harassment, discrimination or unfair termination, Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. represents clients in federal court and before the EEOC, MSPB and in state and union grievance hearings.
Our attorneys have more than 35 years dedicated to giving clients the attention, advice, support and empowerment they need to effectively meet their goals. We are committed to the principle that all persons shall have equal justice under the law. Call Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. at 304.523.8451 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.