I'm really sorry to hear of the situation. Some employers just don't get it.
Surprisingly, neither California Employment Law not federal labor laws---specifically the Fair Labor Standards Act place any kind of a limitation on the number of hours that an employer may ask an employee to work in any given day or week.
Obviously, salaried exempt employees work more than 8 hours a day or 40 a week and do not receive any additional compensation---while non-exempt employees must be paid overtime.
If employees are being forced to work 7 days a week and exhaustion is making them less attentive to safety in the workplace---clearly this is something which should be brought up to management, and in extreme cases even Cal-OSHA.
Employees who are unable or unwilling to continue at the pace required by the employer are able to terminate their employment. And if they can show justification based on safety issues, they can qualify for unemployment benefits---but that is really about the only remedy available if the employer is just going to be irresponsible.
Justification in quitting your job which might be persuasive to an Unemployment Insurance Appeals panel would include:
- Sexual or other harassment
- Needing to move with a spouse or dependent child to another place of residence
- Discrimination (Ethnicity, Color, Religion, National Origin, Age, Sex and Disability)
- Working conditions that endanger your health or safety
- Major changes in the terms and conditions of your job affecting wages or salary
- Excessive overtime or an employer’s refusal to pay for overtime work
- Major changes in work duties
- Difficult relations with a supervisor, for which you are not primarily responsible
- Your employer is doing things which break the law
- Pressure from your employer or fellow workers to quit your job
I wish you the best in 2012.
I understand that you may be disappointed by the Answer you received, as it may not be particularly favorable to your situation. Had I been able to provide an Answer which might have given you a successful legal outcome, it would have been my pleasure to do so.
You may reply back to me using the Reply to Expert
link if you have additional questions; and if you do, I ask that you please keep in mind that I do not know what you may already know or with what you need help, unless you tell me.
Kindly take a moment to rate my service to you based on the understanding of the law I provided. I have no control over the how the law impacts your particular situation, and I trust that you can understand how it would be unfair for me to be punished by a (negative rating) ----the first 2 stars/faces----for having been honest with you about the law.