My employer is forcing me to work off hours, to do inventory of the store, which I have never done. I am only a cashier not a stock person. This will be done at night after store hours, and I would probably be passing out as I'm not a night owl. My day starts before 6:00am and by 8:30-9:30pm I'm out cold.

I live in British Columbia, Canada. Can a employer force one to work off hours?

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    Related, not quite duplicate: Top management calls very frequent off-hours meetings
    – David K
    Apr 28, 2016 at 12:54
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    You need to ask your manager whether this is paid work or not. It should be. You also need to ask just how mandatory it is. I know lots of people who jumped at the chance for inventory overtime because it was relatively easy work and good money. You might not have to do it, or you might have to if the manager wants to minimize the overall time inventory takes. ASK. Apr 28, 2016 at 12:57
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    We have no idea if you're being paid for this or not. As @KateGregory said, it falls on you to ask these sort of questions to your manager. As with anything in life, if you don't get a straight answer, leave.
    – Dan
    Apr 28, 2016 at 13:02
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    @user49852 The answer is yes, a business can ask you to do work pertaining to the overall business objective. I was a cashier years back in highschool and I recall a couple of times being asked to come in to inventory after hours when they were short. I was paid, of course. Either way there's nothing wrong with asking your manager these sort of questions because we have no idea the why/how/when/where of you being selected. Maybe she hates your guts, or maybe she thought you'd do a good job. We simply don't know because we're not actually there.
    – Dan
    Apr 28, 2016 at 13:12
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    Another story related to inventory is I was once asked to come to a store in a different part of the state. They said they'd pay for everything: the gas, my hotel, etc to just take inventory of the new store. I simply said no and that was the last I heard of it because I said I simply can't drive that far. You can refuse to do anything but always think of the consequences of your action and "I'm not a night owl" is simply a poor excuse that will be met with very harsh consequence.
    – Dan
    Apr 28, 2016 at 13:16

2 Answers 2


I encourage you to call the Employment Standards Branch.

Assuming you are an adult (different standards apply to young people), you can most definitely be required to work overtime. Note that all work must be confined within 12 hours, so if you start work at 6 AM, they are not allowed to have you work past 6 PM. If you are working two jobs, this only applies to each job individually. For example, if you work at one job from 6 AM to noon, the other job is perfectly free to have you work from 2 PM to 10 PM. Any work past eight hours for a single employer is subject to overtime and there's a separate calculation for overtime based on weekly hours, too. You can read more here.


Employers cannot refuse to pay overtime rates and cannot force workers to work excessive hours, nor can they fire workers or have them deported if they refuse or complain about overtime work.


Section 40 of the Act sets out the rates of pay that an employer must pay to an employee who works more than 8 hours in any day or more than 40 hours in a week.

In BC you can refuse anything beyond 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week without formal action against you. If this time does not push you into overtime territory (eg part time worker), then you may be risking your employment by refusing.

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