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Can I be sacked if I said no to some overtime? watch

    • Thread Starter

    I have just started a new job and I am contracted to 21 hours a week. In my contract it does say I am expected to do overtime sometimes when I am needed because other shops may need me to cover if someone cannot work at that shop that day.

    Last week I got asked if I could cover someone at another shop and I said yes and covered, and the hours I did there counted as overtime. I have three days off next week and I said in advance to my boss I wouldn't be able to come into cover for one of them days because I have a second job that day and she said it was perfectly fine, and if I needed my shifts altered so I can do both jobs then that is fine, Which I thought was brilliant! This second job only lasts a week because its just a temporary acting job and I told this second job the days I could do, and those were on my days off so I was still able to work for this first job without any problem of having to change my shifts around.

    I then got asked if I could cover this same shop again next week because they need cover and I politely said I couldn't because as I said before I had a day off and I have organised to have my second job that day. Suddenly, they start being rude and say I should be more flexible for the job! Which did upset me a little bit, because this was only the first time I've turned down overtime. I can understand my employer having a problem with me if I always said no to overtime, but this is the only occasion I have not been able to cover someone this time.

    Now I am just worried now that because I've said no to covering on this occasion, that it will go against me in terms of my reputation as an employee. I've never complained about having to cover, in fact I even said in my interview I would always cover if I am able to do it. I never guaranteed that I'd always be able to do overtime.

    Legally you can't be forced to work overtime (although I don't know how that works with your contract, probably depends on the specific wording, I doubt they can hold you to much if they haven't specified what they require of you). However, as you've realised, employers can essentially force you to because they have power over you.

    I wouldn't panic just yet, it might be that your boss was annoyed at themselves for forgetting you were busy and not covering a shift, it might be they just don't cope well with pressure etc... it's obviously bad management, but there's no reason to assume it will come back to make things difficult for you in the future. Just see how things go in the future. But be aware some managers use tactics like this because they know they can intimidate people into doing what they want so stand your ground if you can't do the overtime.
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