Q. A new employee has just informed his supervisor that he can't work any overtime. Can we legally fire this person? —G.M., Virginia
A. Yes, you can require employees to work overtime, and you can fire the employee for refusing, as long as you're not in an industry (such as trucking) in which state or federal government regulates the number of hours an employee can work. Before you fire this person, analyze how you've treated other people who have refused to work overtime. Make sure you're not treating this person any differently, or you could find yourself facing an age, sex or religious discrimination suit.
Final notes: To avoid such disputes in the future, make it crystal clear to applicants that you may require them to work overtime. Have employees sign a statement saying they understand your. And, if possible, ask for volunteers before assigning .
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