Beware overtime claims if you expect responses to emails at all hours

If you expect employees to read or respond to communications outside working hours, they may be entitled to overtime pay as a result

Stuart Rudner
By Stuart Rudner

I recently read this article in Canadian HR Reporter, which reports on recent survey results showing one-third of workers get weekend emails from bosses expecting them to respond.

This is not surprising, but is a good opportunity to remind everyone: If you expect employees to read or respond to communications outside of their working hours, this can constitute overtime. Unless the employee is exempt from hours of work and overtime requirements, they may be entitled to additional pay.

And please remember that just because someone is paid by salary, that does not mean they are not entitled to overtime. Exemptions are based upon an individual's role, not the manner in which they are paid.

As usual, policies can be used to reduce potential liability.

Stuart Rudner is a leading HR Lawyer and a partner in the Labour & Employment Law Group of Miller Thomson LL
P, a national law firm. He provides clients with strategic advice regarding all aspects of the employment relationship, and represents them before courts, mediators and tribunals. He is author of You’re Fired: Just Cause for Dismissal in Canada, published by Carswell. He can be reached at 416.595.8672 or [email protected]. You can also follow him on Twitter @CanadianHRLaw and join his Canadian HR Law Group on LinkedIn.

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