Can I refuse to work overtime hours?

Can I refuse to work overtime hours?

Has your employer been expecting you to work long hours? Have they consistently forced you to agree to working more hours than you originally agreed to in your Employment Agreement? Has your employer made demands that far exceed what someone can accomplish within an 8-hour workday?

You may feel like you are always the employee who is working late hours or asked to complete more projects than your colleagues. At first, you may have felt pleased that your employer trusts your work and knows you can manage a heavier workload. However, consistently working overtime may have you feeling burnt out and no longer capable of maintaining your productivity.

How can you limit working overtime?

The good news is, there may be an opportunity for you to set boundaries with your current employer, as you are in fact permitted to reject your employer’s request to work overtime.

There are unfortunately two exceptions in this case. Your Employment Agreement could entitle your employer to demand overtime work when necessary. This entitlement could be outlined in the terms and conditions of your agreement. KCY at LAW can help review your Employment Agreement to ensure whether you have accepted these terms. Also, keep in mind that even if your Employment Agreement demands for overtime hours, it does not relieve your employer from compensating overtime pay. You are still entitled to this compensation whether you originally agreed to working extra hours or not. The second exception is that if you have previously agreed to work overtime hours, it may be more difficult to reject future requests to work overtime.

In these two circumstances, your employer can terminate your employment for rejecting to work more hours. They can terminate your employment “without cause” where they do not need to disclose the reason for termination.

What if the overtime work has become unbearable, almost to the point where it could be considered unreasonable?

If you have been working a grueling amount of overtime hours where it could be considered unreasonable, you should consult KCY at LAW for an employment consultation. If you did not agree to working this many hours and have become completely burnt out to the point where you are considering resigning, receiving legal help is your best course of action.

The overwhelming hours you are completing could be grounds for filing a constructive dismissal claim. A constructive dismissal claim is when your employer makes a fundamental change to your employment responsibilities without your consent. Even if you agreed to work overtime in your Employment Agreement, the hours may be excessive and unfair.

If you are completing an unreasonable amount of overtime hours or would like your employment contract reviewed by an employment lawyer in this regard, please contact KCY at LAW by filling in an online consultation request or contact us by phone at 905-639-0999 to book your consultation today.