50 hour work weeks may be "standard", but are they legal?
November 21, 2010 1:25 PM Subscribe
Taking What They're Giving filter: What's the legality around the statement "A 50-hour work week is pretty much expected here."
posted by quakerjono to law & government (25 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This isn't a hill I want to die on at this time, but I'm curious about something. This last week at work (IT company in the Midwest), I got into a bit of a power struggle with a fellow associate. It was pretty petty, but it ended in an odd way. A meeting occurred where my request for assistance was debated and my average hours worked over the past three to four weeks was used as a data point against me as I was "only averaging 44-48 hours".
Normally, I don't mind putting in the hours and, in my defense (although having to defend a 44-48 hour workweek average seems...odd), I had a relative undergo two outpatient surgeries and a death in the family over the same time period, so my mind was on different things.
In short, my request for assistance on a project was denied and this was the rationale given. Specifically, I was told that "50 hours was a pretty standard work week here," and resources couldn't be allocated to take over the project from my (imo) overloaded plate as I should just "work harder".
In the past I've worked that much voluntarily to get the job done and have had stellar reviews and never any previous issue with my weekly hours worked (in fact, I've gotten compliments regarding my willingness to work extra and lend a hand when needed even though it wasn't my responsibility to do so).
But this just feels wrong...if not illegal, definitely not as clear cut a power move as it was portrayed to me as. Mind you, I think part of it was just a gentle warning that not only was this data point out there, but that pressing the issue might be used against me in my application for an upcoming leadership training program I'm really keen to get into. Plus, this was disclosed to me by my boss whom I like and who likes me, so the power move came from a third party whom no one likes, so I don't really want this to lead to friction in the good relationship just to snap at the bad one.
I was furious at the time, but have since mellowed and am just more interested in knowing if any laws were outright violated and/or if there is ammo there for me to use should I be unwise and decide to press the issue.
Incidentally, I worked 53 hours last week and will work at least 50 this week with the holiday, so the average is going back up anyway.