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Can an employer force employees to work overtime without pay?

Expert: Howard Levitt

Jessica asked:

My employer does not pay overtime wages and I am required to work overtime on a daily basis. I have never signed anything stating that I will not be compensated for overtime. What are my rights? Is this legal?

Howard Levitt answered:

The writer did not identify his province or industry so the rules are unclear. However, in every jurisdiction, there is mandatory overtime pay after a certain number of hours in a day or week.

The exception lies, in most provinces, in managerial employees or those in certain specified exemptions, which again is different in each province. The reader should call their employment standards branch to see what the rules are in his/her particular jurisdiction.

The employer need not have policies and cannot contract out of it. There is even the possibility of a class action proceeding if enough employees are involved.

About the author

Howard Levitt, Counsel to the national law firm Lang Michener. He is author of, The Law of Dismissal in Canada, The Quick Reference Guide to Employment Law and an upcoming book on Canadian Hiring Law. He is Editor In Chief of the Dismissal & Employmnet Law Digest.

Phone: (416) 307-4059
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