Health care workers in California are frequently asked to work overtime, and they are sometimes required to do so. While requiring employees to work more than 40 hours per week is not allowed in most occupations, health care employers enjoy an exception to this rule in some cases. Workers in busy hospitals and clinics may be asked to stay longer when other workers get sick or there is an influx of new patients.
There are some state-specific laws that prohibit health care employers from requiring employees to work overtime, though employers may ask employees to work overtime. In Pennsylvania, a direct care worker in a hospital won a $122,000 damage award after she was fired for refusing to work overtime on four separate occasions.
At her trial, the hospital worker in Pennsylvania claimed that she could not work overtime when she was asked to by her employer because she did not have child care for her three young children. The worker and her boyfriend had arranged a work schedule that allowed them to work opposite each other so that they would not need to pay for day care. The court ruled that the woman’s employer must compensate her for back wages and reinstate her in her former job.
A worker who was fired after refusing to work overtime may have a case for filing a wage and hour law claim. An attorney may be able to help a worker in this situation to pursue financial reimbursement for the income that they lost after they were fired. After filing a claim, some workers are reinstated in their positions when a court rules in their favor.