Can an Employee be Disciplined or Fired for Working Overtime Without Permission?
Employer Response to Unauthorized Overtime
If you have a rule that says employees must get advance approval to work overtime, and an employee violates that rule, you can impose discipline or even terminate them.
You need to be careful, though, that the discipline or termination is truly about violation of the policy, not about the employee asking to be paid for the extra hours. This may seem like a fine distinction, but it is important. The overtime laws prohibit retaliation for an employee's exercise of their rights, so if an employee is terminated after asking to be paid you could face a retaliation claim.
This is another reason why the best practice for unauthorized overtime is to simply pay the correct amount for the time already worked and then address the policy violation separately.
Learn more here about overtime under Massachusetts and federal law.
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