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Thanksgiving Is Officially Over; Now Get to Work!

Thanksgiving Is Officially Over; Now Get to Work!

The latest buzz in labor and employment law involves Thanksgiving, thanks to Target and other retailers. We all know that someone had the bright idea to force hourly employees to “put on a happy face” while spending the night with co-workers and strangers instead of with family and friends on Thanksgiving evening.

And yes, in Florida (and probably elsewhere), it is legal. You better believe that Target and the first few stores who decided to require their employees to come in to work a graveyard shift on Thanksgiving night hired lawyers from big law firms (and spent lots of money) for them to scour the laws before announcing that they were going to require employees to come to work on Thanksgiving night. I double-checked, and there was no law that I could find that requires your employer to give you off of work on Thanksgiving. Of course, exceptions exist for government employees and those who have collective bargaining agreements through their unions, but most workers – like those who work for Target – aren’t so lucky.

When your boss tells you to report to work at 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving, or if you are put on a similar schedule work schedule for next Thursday night – and you want to keep you job – you better be there. If you get fired for not showing up for work, then you are not being retaliated or discriminated against, since Thanksgiving is not a religious holiday. You won’t be able to make a legitimate claim for retaliation (or retaliatory discharge), and instead you will just be out of work.

Florida law does not require that those who work at Target or any other store get paid overtime (or holiday pay) just for working on Thanksgiving (or any other holiday). Thanksgiving is treated just like most other workdays, which means that if working on Thanksgiving causes you to work more than 40 hours in a workweek, then you probably are entitled to get paid overtime wages – or time and one-half. Exceptions exist, usually for those who work for a company under a collective bargaining agreement or other contractual arrangement.

If you have any questions about working on Thanksgiving or otherwise, call or email me at the FairLaw Firm.


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