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Can I Sue for Being Overworked?

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

You're lucky if you work 40 hours per week.

Many other employees work 50, 60, or even 70 hours per week. Constantly working too many hours can have serious negative impact on your health, your state of mind, and even your social life. Are you overworking yourself because you need extra money? Or, is your employer overworking you because the business doesn't want to hire another employee?

Can you sue for being overworked?

No Law Limits an Employee's Hours

There is no law limiting the total number of hours an employer can make an employee work. So, there is no cause of action for you to sue for being overworked.

However, there may be other issues that can enable you to sue or to seek compensation.

Overtime Pay

An employer can require you to work as many hours as they want as long as they pay you. Federal and state labor laws require overtime pay for hours worked above a certain level.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers must pay overtime if an employee works more than 40 hours per week. Any hours worked over 40 hours must be paid at one and one half the employee's regular rate of pay. Sadly, this rule currently does not apply to exempt employees who perform executive, professional, or administrative duties.

Some state laws are even more generous to employees. In California, employers must pay overtime if an employee works more than eight hours per day, even if they do not eventually work more than 40 hours per week.

If your employer is making your work more than 40 hours per week or 8 hours per day, in certain states, without paying overtime, consult an experienced wage and hour law attorney for help.

Workers' Compensation

In addition to suing for overtime, you may be able to make a workers' compensation claim if overworking affects you physically.

According to the Mayo Clinic, working too much can cause headache, neck pain, back pain, depression, or chronic fatigue. Also, if you work more than 10 hours per day, you have 60 percent higher chance of getting a heart attack than someone who works only eight hours per day.

When you are injured at work by your work duties or the conditions of your work, workers' compensation pays you for your medical bills and lost wages.

If you suffer an injury because you are overworked, consult with an experienced personal injury attorney for help.

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