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LawTalk, Attorney
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 37818
Experience:  I have 30 years of experience in the practice of law, including employment law and discrimination law.
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I work in the I.T. Department of the company I work for. I

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I work in the I.T. Department of the company I work for. I have been a salaried employee for almost 13 years now. Over the course of these many years, I have always accepted the fact that the company I work for can call me at any time to assist with any I.T. related issue be it during or after standard work hours. However, and in my opinion, the company has been pushing the boundaries of these hours I work. My first question is: as a salaried worker, how many hours a week can the company legally ask me to work? My second question is: After my standard work hours, which are from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., can I legally deny the company's request to go into work?

Good morning,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today. In order to give you a clear and concise answer, I will need some additional information about the circumstances, please.

1. When you say that you are salaried---do you mean that you are salary exempt, and not paid overtime?

2. When you say that the employer is pushing the boundaries of your work hours---can you please explain what you mean?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

1. Yes, I am not paid for overtime.


2. Without getting into the underlying issue with my boss, I will just say that he has been working me for the past 3 weekends straight. this is in addition to the already late nights I work during the week. In addition, he is calling me at night to come into work and I know that he is doing this out of spite. I would just like to know if I can legally say no when he asks me to come into work on the weekends or after hours during the weekday.

Good morning Robert,

Thank you for clarifying that for me.

Under CA Wage Order number 4, section 3L, which I am linking you to below, no employer, with the exception of emergencies, may force a salaried exempt worker to work beyond 72 hours in a workweek if they object to doing so.

More specifically, "(L) No employee shall be terminated or otherwise disciplined for refusing to work more than 72 hours in any workweek, except in an
emergency as defined in Section 2(D).
Here is the link:

Aside from that limitation, CA employers are not limited in demanding that their employees work excessive hours.

So, if you have worked at least 72 hours in the workweek already, and you are asked to work additional hours and there is not a bone fide emergency, then you are free to refuse and your employer may not terminate you, discipline you or otherwise retaliate against you.

What that means is that until you hit that 72 hour mark in a given work week, your employer may ask you to work beyond your normally scheduled work day, and if you do refuse to go in, you are at risk of discipline for the refusal. I'm sorry.

You may reply back to me again, using the Reply to Expert link, if you have additional questions.

I wish you the best in your future,


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

One quick question before I accept your excellent service. does this 72 hours i am required to respond include calls at home?

Good morning Robert,

Under CA law, any time you are doing work for your employer---be it at the office, or from home, it is all considered work hours, and if you take a 30 minute call from home---that is counted in the 72 hours after which you may refuse to work any additional hours in that given workweek.

Thank you for your kind words. They are appreciated. Please keep in mind that until you rate me highly for my service, I will not be credited with helping you.

Thanks again.

Have a great day,

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