Federal law says you can mandate overtime, provided you aren’t in an industry in which work hours are regulated (such as truck-driving). Before you fire someone who refuses to work overtime, study how you’ve treated similar situations. If you’re too hasty, you can trigger a discrimination suit. The case: A black employee refused to work overtime because she wasn’t paid for it. Her employer claimed that as an exempt manager, she was expected to work overtime without extra pay. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2d Circuit let the suit proceed. Reason: Four white employees in similar positions were paid overtime. (Austin v. Ford Models, Inc., No. 96-9707)
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